Juneteenth Officially A Holiday In Illinois

Juneteenth Officially A Holiday In Illinois

Juneteenth Officially A Holiday In Illinois

  • Posted by Barrington Hills
  • On June 18, 2021

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law on Wednesday morning. Whenever June 19 falls on a weekday, state workers will get a paid holiday

By Eileen O’Gorman, Patch StaffJun 16, 2021 11:52 am CDT

Juneteenth, the celebration of the emancipation of those who were enslaved in the U.S., has been declared an official state holiday in Illinois.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 3922 into law Wednesday morning. Each June 19, state buildings will now lower flags to half-staff and a flag in honor of the holiday will fly in the Capitol Building.

The day has been celebrated as the commemoration of the end of slavery among people of color. On June 19, 1865, the last enslaved people were freed in Galveston, Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

“Just as Illinois led the nation as the first state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, in 2021, we are leading the nation in tackling structural racism head on thanks to the guiding vision of Leader Lightford, Representative Ford, Speaker Welch and the entire Illinois Legislative Black Caucus,” said Pritzker before signing the bill at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

With Wednesday’s announcement, Illinois became the 47th state to recognize the day.

Juneteenth — also to be called National Freedom Day — will be a paid holiday for state workers and public education professionals only when June 19 falls on a weekday. Since this June 19 is on a Saturday and June 19, 2022 is a Sunday, the first paid state holiday will be in 2023.

Earlier this week, the federal Senate passed a resolution to make the day a federal holiday, as well. The bill is still awaiting approval in the House and from President Joe Biden