Comments from the Mayor

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Jun 09

A Proclamation Recognizing and Celebrating Juneteenth in the Village of Park Forest

Posted on June 9, 2023 at 4:50 PM by James Guirguis

WHEREAS, on January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a directive from the President that freed all enslaved African-Americans and declared all slaves free in Confederate territories. This paved the way for passing of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which formally abolished slavery across the country; and 

WHEREAS, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 – more than two years later – that still enslaved African-Americans were finally released in the State of Texas; and 

Whereas, while Juneteenth has become the most prominent Emancipation Day holiday in the US, it marks the moment when emancipation finally reached those in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy; and

WHEREAS, the timeline from President Lincoln’s original Proclamation to the final action being taken to release all those enslaved in America is clearly indicative of the struggles for African-Americans in their quest to be seen as equals in America in their pursuit of life, liberty and the American dream; and 

WHEREAS, this occurrence became known as Juneteenth – the combining of June and Nineteenth – and Freedom Day for all African-Americans wherein all had finally been released from the terrible institution of slavery; and 

WHEREASJuneteenth marks both the long, hard night of slavery and discrimination, and the promise of a brighter morning to come. Juneteenth serves symbolically, and in reality, as a reference point to measure and appreciate the progress made by African-Americans; and 

WHEREASsince June 19, 1865, Juneteenth has been a reason for celebration within African-American families and culture, with celebrations including festivals, family gatherings, reflections and summer barbecues. Juneteenth is a day of profound weight and power; and

WHEREASit is a day where we all take one step closer together - to better utilize the energy wasted on racism. Juneteenth is a day that we celebrate as we strive for peace and liberty for all. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.  

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED by the Mayor and the Board of Trustees of the Village of Park Forest, Cook and Will Counties, Illinois that June 19, 2023 will be honored as Juneteenth and an official holiday. On Saturday, June 10th to honor Juneteenth there will be festivities in Downtown Park Forest (Main Street & Cunningham) from 10 AM to 2 PM. BE IT FURTHER PROCLAIMED that at such a pivotal crossroads in our nation’s history, all Park Forest residents are encouraged to recognize and enthusiastically celebrate such an important milestone in the African-American community. BE IT FURTHER PROCLAIMED that all citizens are hereby encouraged to learn more about the history, and significance, of Juneteenth as Park Forest strives to be the most equitable and culturally accommodating community in all of Illinois. 


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