Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered flags be lowered in Illinois on June 19, also known as Juneteenth.
"The governor is committed to honoring both the celebration of Juneteenth and paying respect to those who lost their lives, by lowering the flag in honor in them," Pritzker's officer said in a statement. "The governor recognizes that, now more than ever, Juneteenth is a day that reminds us that the fight for justice and equity across the nation is not over, and while we will celebrate the end of slavery, we must also recognize the systemic racism that has time and time again reared its ugly head and honor the memory of those who have died simply because of the color of their skin."
The move comes after multiple state leaders called on the governor to lower state flags to half mast to pay tribute to lives lost to racism.
“Illinois should lead the nation in condemning hate and racism, and I urge the governor to show that we stand together by lowering flags to half-mast across the state and pausing for a moment of reflection,” said State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford. “Juneteenth serves as a time of reflection and as a time for more action to deliver justice for those who have faced racism throughout their lives."
Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, is an annual celebration marking the end of the slavery in the U.S. The holiday commemorates a specific date — June 19, 1865, the day many enslaved people in Texas learned they had been freed.