Cook County has a new flag! Designed by a suburban high schooler as part of a competition for Cook County residents, the innovative design pays tribute to waterways in the area and social justice policies.
County’s commissioners then met Tuesday on Flag Day to pick a design. An appointed flag advisory panel, which featured historians, board commissioners, museum directors, and other county members, first narrowed down the search to six flags in March. Finalists chosen in March were the paired with volunteer mentors and professional designers to refine the submitted designs.
With over 297 different flag designs submitted by students from 40 high schools, they ultimately chose the design from a student at suburban Glenbrook South High School, Andrew Duffy. The winning flag features six red stars and a green and blue sideways “Y” on a white background.
The new flag meets vexillological (AKA the study of flags) standards with a design that’s simple, meaningful and only showcases a few colors. The winning flag also has a deeper meaning: The stars are red to represent social change, with seven points to represent the regions of the county, along with the city of Chicago itself, and the forest preserve. While the blue “Y” represents the Chicago’s River’s split at Wolf Point, while the green outline is a nod to the county’s waterways, land, and riverbanks. The blank slate white background represents future innovation that’s to come.
Each star, detailing six in total, signifies a historic moment that creates the foundation for Cook County. There’s the founding of Cook County in 1831. The founding of the hospitals in 1832 and 1891, the forest preserves in 1914. The Cook County Department of Public Health. The Arthur J. Audy Home from 1899, the. Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and finally, tribute to local governments that come together to create the county itself.
[Featured photo from Cook County / cookcountyil.gov]