CHICAGO – Friday marks the annual celebration of Juneteenth, and state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, D-Chicago, is asking residents to take a moment to remember those who have been lost to racist violence.

“Today is a day of reflection, and a reminder of the continuous and daily struggle to fight racism in this country,” said Ford. “This year, in the wake of a widespread movement to combat police brutality and a renewed effort to dismantle systemic racism, Juneteenth is a stark reminder of the history of our nation and of the fight for equality that must continue.”

Juneteenth recognizes the announced ending of slavery by Union forces in Texas on June 19, 1865, years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had outlawed slavery in rebellious territories that included Texas. Ratification of the 13th Amendment later that year would finally end slavery in all parts of the country, including areas not initially covered by the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth would become the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.

This year, flags in Illinois are being lowered on Juneteenth to pay respect to those who have lost their lives to hate and racism. Ford is appreciative of the gesture, and is encouraging Gov. J.B. Pritzker to continue to take action through executive order and establish an Illinois Office of Diversity and Inclusion to focus on challenges that face the Black community in Illinois. Ford has suggested a framework for a task force to consider and develop solutions, and his outline can be found at

“The lowered flags are a reminder of the terrible toll that racism has had on people and the need to not only think about these issues, but to address them as well,” said Ford. “I want to thank Governor Pritzker for directing flags to be lowered, and I want to thank each and every individual who is doing their part to fight against hate to build a better country for everyone. Our work, however, is not done yet as Black people are continuing to die and be left behind. I encourage the governor to review my proposal and to lead like Lincoln.”

For more information, please contact

Rep. La Shawn FordRep. La Shawn Ford

8th District

Springfield Office:
239-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL   62706
(217) 782-5962
(217) 557-4502 FAX

Chicago Office:
5051 W Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60651
(773) 378-5902