Native organizers suppose that June 10th can be a nationwide vacation | Illinois
Juneteenth will be an official Illinois state holiday next year after Governor JB Pritzker enacted House Bill 3922 on Wednesday, declaring it National Freedom Day.
The new law, which goes into effect January 1, 2022, makes June 10th a paid holiday for civil servants and public school educators if the date falls on a day of the week. Since June 19, 2022 falls on a Sunday, the first paid public holiday will be June 10, 2023.
Starting this Saturday, on the holiday, the state will hoist the U.S. flags, governed by the Illinois Flag Display Act, with half-occupation and hoist a Juniteenth flag over the State Capitol in Springfield.
Juneteenth refers to the historic date the 19th Robert E. Lee surrendered.
Frances Lewis, the contact and treasurer for the Juneteenth Celebration Council in Kankakee, said the council was excited about the announcement and added support to the current week of Juneteenth Celebration events.
“We think it’s great. It’s overdue and well deserved. I just read that they are also thinking of making it a national day, ”said Lewis.
The U.S. Senate passed a similar bill on Tuesday making Juniteenth a federal holiday that is expected to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by President Joe Biden.
“I think it’s a great thing and hopefully we can do it nationally,” said Theodis Pace, president of the NAACP Kankakee County office.
“I applaud you, the lawmakers who passed the law, because I know it has been on the governor’s desk for a while.”
The JCCC held an event on Monday, Flag Day, in honor of the flag of Juniteenth, the American flag, and the flag of the prisoners of war. Wednesday evening there was a weekday prayer hour. The week ends with the parade and festival on Saturday.
“We have received more calls from people wanting to attend the parade and the activities and everything else,” Lewis said of the holiday announcement. “It is an opportunity to get more support from individuals and to make more people aware of what is happening in our community.”
The 10 am Juneteenth Parade on Saturday is immediately followed by a Freedom Festival at noon in Pioneer Park. Lewis said the news of the state holiday will be part of the day.
“It will appear in the speeches just as we will [handing out] Flyer with information about it so that people can see it, ”said Lewis. “Education is a key to our organization and the more we educate people about what’s going on with our nationality, the better.”
Similarly, Pace said he hoped the national holiday would help educate people about “all the hard-fought struggles we have faced … regarding justice, diversity and inclusion” and the complicated end of slavery beyond the Emancipation Proclamation to improve.
Pritzker made the announcement near a rare copy of the proclamation signed by Lincoln and then Secretary of State William Seward, on display in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
“I am extremely proud to be signing the Juneteenth State Day Declaration in Illinois, which makes us one of the few states that gives it the full status it deserves,” said Pritzker.
Many states and communities ceremonially celebrate June 10th to commemorate the freedom of enslaved people in the United States, but only some states recognize it as an official state holiday.