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Gov. Pritzker makes Juneteenth official state holiday

pritzker juneteenth

(WSIL) — Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation declaring June 19, Juneteenth, an official state holiday. 

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.

“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 Governor JB Pritzker. “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.”

Illinois will recognize Juneteenth throughout the state, lowering all flags covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act to half-staff on Saturday, June 19. In addition, this year and henceforth, a Juneteenth flag will fly proudly over the State Capitol in Springfield.

To learn more about the historical impact of Juneteenth, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will display the Emancipation Proclamation through July 6. In addition, the Illinois State Museum will showcase art celebrating Black lives through their Noir Art Exhibition.

The legislation clarifies that Juneteenth will be a paid holiday for state workers and public education professionals when June 19 falls on a weekday. Given that June 19 falls on a Sunday in 2022, the first paid state holiday for Juneteenth will be in 2023.

HB  3922  is effective January 1, 2022.

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