Circuit Court of Cook County to celebrate “Juneteenth” with court holiday on Friday

Released On 06/16/2021

The Circuit Court of Cook County will be closed on Friday to celebrate “Juneteenth,” which celebrates the emancipation of Black Americans from slavery.

Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans declared Juneteenth a court holiday on Jan. 15, 2021. It also has been declared a city and county-wide holiday, and on Wednesday, Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker made Juneteenth a state holiday.

Celebrated unofficially for decades, Juneteenth recalls June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers told former slaves in Texas that they were free. The news had come late – the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Confederate states had already become law on Jan. 1, 1863.

During a celebration in Daley Center plaza on Wednesday, Judge Evans noted that he has family in Texas and Arkansas who are related to the people who heard the news of emancipation from Union troops. Judge Evans said that, sadly, these people didn’t know that conditions for Black Americans would get worse before they got better. Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan eliminated the rights of Black Americans, and the battle for justice continues to this day, Judge Evans said.

“That’s why we’re here today to celebrate those who had the courage to stand up for what was right…” Judge Evans said. “The ongoing struggle to secure justice for all continues unabated. And we all, each one of us, has a role to play in that fight. Keep fighting, keep struggling, and make certain it’s celebrated not only in Cook County, but that it’s celebrated all over the state of Illinois and all over this country.”

Also speaking on the Juneteenth holiday at the Daley Center on Wednesday were Clerk of the Circuit Court Iris Martinez, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and Cook County Commissioners Donna Miller and Stanley Moore. The St. Sabina Youth Choir performed music for the event.

The Chicago skyline will be lighted red in honor of Juneteenth Thursday through Saturday.


Follow the court on Twitter@CookCntyCourt



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