Gov Signs Legislation Making Juneteenth National Freedom Day an Official State Holiday, Starting in 2022

Gov Signs Legislation Making Juneteenth National Freedom Day an Official State Holiday, Starting in 2022

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation today (Wednesday, June 16, 2021) 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.

The state continues to build upon efforts to actively dismantle systemic racism through robust reforms in the areas of criminal justice, education, health care, and economic opportunity. House Bill 3922 is another historic step in striving toward equity and justice across 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,” 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.”

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 over the State Capitol in Springfield.

“Making Juneteenth a state holiday is a breakthrough in Illinois history,”said Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood).”It reminds us that freedom and racial equality have always been a hard-fought battle for Black Americans and gives us an opportunity to celebrate our culture and achievements.”

All Illinoisans are urged to reflect on our collective history and the actions we can take to build a more fair and equitable society.

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 Jan. 1, 2022.

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release