The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago ( MWRD ) Board of Commissioners unanimously approved plans that will allow employees to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday for the first time.
In recognition of the importance of Juneteenth as the oldest known celebration of emancipation of slaves in the United States, MWRD officials sought a way to more fully recognize the day.
Although Juneteenth is observed each year on June 19, the occasion is officially celebrated in Illinois on the third Saturday in June annually. With this change, the MWRD gives employees the choice to use June 19 as their one additional holiday selection each year.
In addition to Juneteenth, the additional holiday choices for MWRD employees include the days preceding or following Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day or New Year's Day.
On July 16, the commissioners passed a resolution honoring Juneteenth, and on June 19 of this year, the MWRD joined the state of Illinois in lowering its flags to celebrate Juneteenth, which is recognized as a state holiday in 47 states. There is legislation in Illinois sponsored by state Rep. Thaddeus Jones ( 29th District ) that will observe Juneteenth National Freedom Day on June 19.