In my home state of Texas, as far back as I can remember, Juneteenth has been a celebration. Juneteenth parades and pageants and oratory contests all shine a spotlight on the beauty of Black culture and the community. We eat barbeque, drink “red” soda and spend time with family and friends.
Most importantly, we celebrate the emancipation of our formerly enslaved ancestors, the resilience of our people before and after emancipation, and the unifying magic of Blackness. Juneteenth means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to folks here in Illinois as well.
It’s for these reasons and so many others that I was glad to see the State Senate pass a bill to make Juneteenth a State holiday! It should serve as a celebration of the progress we’ve made and a reminder of how much work is yet to be done for Black Americans to truly be free.
Let’s join together and thank the sponsors of this bill for working to get us this far!
Last year, in the midst of the pandemic and in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Juneteenth was quite subdued. It was a real moment of reflection and rededication to the work ahead. This year, freedom festivals and traditional celebrations are returning with a renewed emphasis on the strength of our communities!
All of these traditions and celebrations mean a lot to so many people. We’re not done yet, but let’s take time to thank the sponsors for getting this bill one step closer to becoming law!