Chicago's skyline will light up in red later this week in honor of Juneteenth, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County announced, calling it historic.
Juneteenth commemorates the date in 1865 when the last enslaved Black people in the U.S. learned from Union soldiers in Texas that they were free, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. The day is also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day.
"History will be made in Chicago June 17-19, 2021 as the city skyline will illuminate Red in honor of Juneteenth following a year marked by racial justice," said Clerk Iris Y. Martinez in a statement.
Martinez's office said the display would help make Cook County "the country’s largest populated county in the US to celebrate Black Americans’ freedom from slavery."
Kicking off the commemoration, on June 16, a program will be held at the Richard J. Daley Plaza on 50 W. Washington St.
“Commemorating this holiday is about recognizing the historical contributions made by African Americans and embracing unity and equity,” Martinez said.
Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago will initiate the lighting, the statement said.
“BOMA Chicago is proud to be a part of the growing recognition of Juneteenth, as our country reflects on the many challenges African Americans have faced related to achieving freedom and equality,” said Farzin Parang, executive reduction of BOMA Chicago. “Lighting up the skyline for Juneteenth is a unique opportunity for our buildings to further illuminate this important chapter in American history.”