Barbara Jordan’s dedication to public service didn’t stop with her professional achievements. She carried her passion for community empowerment into her role as a Miami-Dade County Commissioner, representing District 1. It was during her tenure on the Commission that she demonstrated remarkable foresight and a commitment to honoring African American history and culture.

In 2019, long before the federal government designated Juneteenth as a national holiday, Barbara Jordan sponsored legislation that made Juneteenth a paid holiday for county employees in Miami-Dade County. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. It marks the day when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to announce the end of slavery, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Barbara Jordan recognized the significance of Juneteenth and the need to honor this historic event. By sponsoring the legislation, she sought to provide county employees with the opportunity to celebrate Juneteenth with their families and communities. Her forward-thinking approach demonstrated her understanding of the importance of inclusivity, diversity, and the recognition of all communities’ contributions to American history.

Thanks to Barbara Jordan’s efforts, Miami-Dade County became one of the first local governments to recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday for its employees. The decision was a milestone in the ongoing journey toward acknowledging the struggles and achievements of African Americans and promoting equality and justice for all.

She recognized that Juneteenth should not only be a day off work but also an opportunity for reflection, education, and celebration. Her foresight and determination serve as a reminder of the power of individuals to effect change and create a more inclusive society.

Barbara Jordan’s legacy extends far beyond her time in office. She will be remembered as a trailblazer, a champion of justice, and a visionary leader who understood the importance of honoring and celebrating our shared history. Her impact on Miami-Dade County will continue to resonate for generations to come.