SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Juneteenth will now be an Illinois state holiday.
Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday signed a bill that made Illinois the 47th state to recognize the day. The governor signed the bill at a press conference in Springfield Wednesday. For the first time, June 19 will also be a paid Cook County holiday.
There have been celebrations going on all week in the run up to Juneteenth.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the City Council Black Caucus and the Black Remembrance Project along with other elected officials participated in a Juneteeth flag raising ceremony on Monday at Chicago’s Daley Plaza.
On Saturday there will be a “March For Us” rally, calling for the end of systematic racism.
Juneteeth marks June 19, 1865 when the last slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other officials are expected to be at Daley Plaza at noon Wednesday to make further announcements about Juneteenth.