June 18, 2020 -- Mayor Nancy Rotering has issued a proclamation declaring Friday, June 19, 2020 as Juneteenth National Freedom Day in the City of Highland Park, Illinois. This action formally commemorates a significant time in African American history by acknowledging the day freedom was proclaimed to all enslaved people. Read the proclamation here .
"Juneteenth is particularly poignant this year as our nation grapples with its history of racism. The important work of deconstructing structural racism must be prioritized throughout our nation and is a priority for how we live, work, and play in Highland Park,” said Mayor Rotering. “Our heightened awareness has already created a more open dialogue about the strides we need to make to achieve racial equality. I encourage residents to use this occasion to learn more about Juneteenth, its history, and consider the ways each of us can make a difference not just on this day but each day going forward.” At their most recent City Council meeting, Mayor Rotering and the City Council reiterated Highland Park's commitment to diversity and inclusion through the City's Statement Against Hate and Bigotry .
Celebrated annually on June 19, Juneteenth commemorates the delayed end of slavery in the United States. Also known as Emancipation Day, the celebration began in Texas, and marks the date when Union soldiers brought news of the end of the Civil War in 1865. The Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued two years prior, was not enforced in Texas until the war's end. Over time, Juneteenth has become a celebration of African American achievement, history, and culture.
Learn more about Juneteenth through this online exhibit and video tour from the National Museum of African American History and Culture.