Flags will be henceforth be flown at half-staff in recognition of Juneteenth.
Yesterday, Wednesday, June 16, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation declaring June 19th an official state holiday in Illinois. Juneteenth will, from now on, be an annual paid day off for state workers and public education professionals when it falls on a weekday.
All flags covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act will also henceforth be lowered to half-staff across Illinois every June 19th and the Juneteenth flag will fly over the State Capitol in Springfield.
An official release on Illinois.gov reads “To commemorate the abolition of slavery throughout the United States and its territories in 1865, Juneteenth will be recognized as National Freedom Day in Illinois.”
Upon signing House Bill 3922 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield yesterday, Governor JB Pritzker said “It brings me exceptional pride to sign into law the declaration of Juneteenth as a formal state holiday in Illinois, making us one of the few states in the nation to give it the full status it deserves.”
The official release clarified that “Juneteenth will be a paid holiday for state workers and public education professionals when June 19 falls on a weekday.”
As Juneteenth falls on a Saturday this year and a Sunday the next, the first paid state holiday for Juneteenth will be in 2023.
The bill commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to tell the last enslaved African Americans that they were free more than two years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had been signed.
Yesterday, the Senate also unanimously passed a bill that would make Juneteenth a federal holiday. The House then sent President Joe Biden the bill that would make Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday in the United States.
More information and the official release can be found here.
[Featured image from Twitter / @chicagosmayor]