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Afternoon Edition: June 14, 2021

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

A Juneteenth flag was raised at Daley Center Plaza Monday, June 14, 2021.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 81 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and a low around 62. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 76.

Top story

Lightfoot does about-face, declares Juneteenth an official city holiday

Nearly a year to the day after ruling it out as too costly, Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared today that Chicago will recognize June 19, known as Juneteenth, as an official city holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.

The mayor’s surprise announcement came during an event at Daley Center Plaza that kicked off a week-long Juneteenth celebration.

“I, like many others, didn’t even know anything about Juneteenth until I was an adult. And that’s because it has never been treated with the reverence that it should be. If you look at the ... history books that are used to teach our children, you may only see a passing reference, if at all. We must change that,” Lightfoot told a crowd at Daley Center Plaza.

The decision to declare Juneteenth as a city holiday marked an about-face from the stance the mayor took last year on the day the Chicago City Council voted to recognize Juneteenth, but stopped short of declaring it a city holiday.

This morning, the mayor explained her change of heart just days before Gov. J.B. Pritzker is set to sign a bill declaring Juneteenth a state holiday.

What she didn’t say is that by declaring June 19 an official city holiday, Lightfoot can appease those still pushing to rename Outer Lake Shore Drive in honor of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable over her strenuous objections.

Read Fran Spielman’s full story to get more of Mayor Lightfoot’s explanation on why she had a change of heart on the subject.

More news you need

  1. A poll commissioned by two downtown aldermen backs Mayor Lightfoot’s claims that many Chicago residents don’t support renaming Outer Lake Shore Drive in honor of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable. Among 600 registered Chicago voters polled, 41% opposed the renaming while 32% supported it and 24% were undecided.
  2. State public health officials said they’re going to stop issuing daily updates on coronavirus numbers as the state sees downward trends in infection rates, new cases and deaths. Instead, the state will issue a release every Friday with data on the public website being updated every weekday.
  3. The feuding stars of “Windy City Rehab” appear to agree on at least one thing: They need help splitting up their shared business interests. The two sides also admitted in an emergency motion filed last week that the HGTV show’s splashy, remodeled homes weren’t big moneymakers.
  4. A massive fire at a Rockton chemical plant led to a mandatory evacuation order for the surrounding area this morning. Videos posted to social media showed a large explosion as smoke poured out of the facility earlier today.
  5. Former Elgin schools superintendent José Torres will take over as the interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools. The city announced the move this afternoon after our Nader Issa reported it in the morning.
  6. South Side comedy legend Bernie Mac will be the subject of an upcoming biopic produced by John Legend. The two acted together in “Soul Men,” one of Mac’s final acting roles before his death 13 years ago.

A bright one

Bryzzo for life: How Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo became Cubs’ dynamic duo

If you’ve looked into the Cubs’ dugout during a game over the last seven years, there’s one thing you’ll almost always see.

Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo together.

Whether it’s chatting in the clubhouse, where their lockers are next to each other, or in the on-deck circle, as they’ve hit back-to-back almost their entire careers, the two Cubs superstars have a knack for being in the same place at the same time.

The natural chemistry between the two franchise cornerstones has been a hand-in-glove fit. Even the final out of the Cubs’ first World Series title in 108 years felt poetic, with the game’s last play going from Bryant to Rizzo.

Getty Images

Two extraordinary talents with two different personalities ended up in the same place with one goal — to be the anchors of what the Cubs hoped would be the first World Series championship team in over a century.

But their connection that over the years has resembled a scene from the movie “Step Brothers” didn’t just manifest out of thin air. As a matter of fact, it took time to develop on their way to becoming what fans around baseball now know as “Bryzzo.”

Read Russell Dorsey’s full story on how the Cubs’ dynamic duo came to be.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

How did you enjoy the first weekend in Chicago without pandemic restrictions in over a year?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: As select museums stay open later tonight, we want to know — which Chicago museum is your favorite? Tell us why. Here’s what some of you said...

“The Museum of Science and Industry because it’s AWESOME. Truly a place to spark the imagination and educate the mind.” — Chris Vaughn

“I love the Chicago History Museum because I’m fascinated with the history of Chicago and the exhibits are so interesting.” — Yvette Coleman-Pitts

“I live in Chicago many years ago and my favorite museum was the Art Institute. Every time I visited I felt amazed by it’s collections and it was always so quiet that it was like a religious experience.” — Juan LdeGuevara Parra

“Art Institute and Brookfield Zoo. Both are faves!” — Richard Bartecki

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