Juneteenth will now be a state holiday in Illinois.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill on Wednesday making his state the 47th in the nation to establish June 19 as a day to recognize the end of slavery.
"Today, even a full 156 years after the 13th Amendment formally and constitutionally declared slavery illegal throughout the entire United States, we all know what it means to see justice as yet undelivered," the Democrat said before signing the bill, according to the Chicago Tribune.
This year will also be the first time Juneteenth will be a paid holiday in Cook County. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city would recognize the date as a city holiday on Monday.
For the first time in our city’s history, we raised the #Juneteenth flag to honor and commemorate the contributions of Black Americans. The journey towards equity and inclusion continues. pic.twitter.com/RuK6NhhkBC
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 16, 2021
"Juneteenth deserves more than a passing mention in a textbook or headline," Lightfoot said, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times. "Here in Chicago, we are taking an important step forward to ensure Juneteenth receives its proper recognition."
Also on Wednesday, the U.S. House passed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday a day after it sailed through the Senate. The legislation heads to President Joe Biden's desk for a signature. The bill would make June 19 the 11th federal public holiday.
Juneteenth recognizes when the last slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865 — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
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Original Author: Mica Soellner
Original Location: Illinois makes Juneteenth a state holiday