CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement on Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States:
“Juneteenth is a day to remember our past and embrace the freedom received by so many on June 19, 1865.
Juneteenth reminds us of the struggle of enslaved men and women who were finally free and the strength of those today who dedicate themselves to the fight for equal rights. This day has become a tribute to African-American heritage and to the unwavering human spirit.
“Although this observance has become a global celebration and commemoration, Illinois is a special place to celebrate Juneteenth. It is a home to countless civil rights activists, and a vibrant and historic culture of African American arts.
“I encourage all to take part in commemorating this special day.”
In 2003, Illinois passed a resolution making the third Saturday of June a “day of observance” called “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.” Celebrations are planned this week in many Illinois communities including Aurora, Champaign, Chicago, Kankakee, Pembroke Township, Quincy and Waukegan.