Afternoon Edition: June 16, 2021

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

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, hold up the signed copy of House Bill 3992, which creates the Juneteenth National Freedom Day.

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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.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 76 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 56. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 91.

Top story

Pritzker makes Juneteenth a state holiday, an ‘essential step in our journey toward justice’

Following Chicago and Cook County, Illinois has made June 19 — known as Juneteenth — a state holiday.

In addition to signing a bill today commemorating the date the last slaves were freed in Texas in 1865, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state will fly a Juneteenth flag to honor the date every year starting Saturday.

“These advancements are yet another essential step in our journey toward justice,” the governor said. “With this new law, no longer can a child grow up in Illinois without learning about Juneteenth in school. With this change, the people of Illinois will have a day to reflect on how the freedom that we celebrate just two weeks later, on the Fourth of July, was delayed to Black Americans and in many ways is delayed still.”

Pritzker urged Illinoisans to learn more about the history of Juneteenth, a 1908 race riot in Springfield and the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as the holiday approaches.

The governor said he hopes that will help residents understand “the reasons why our beloved dream of freedom and opportunity for all is not yet truly, fully realized.”

Pritzker was joined by Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton and state legislators at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for the signing of House Bill 3992, which creates the Juneteenth National Freedom Day.

The governor signed the bill near a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln. That 1863 document freed slaves in Confederate states.

Read Rachel Hinton’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. The terrible toll of the mass shooting in Englewood yesterday could be felt through reactions from the victims’ friends and family. Many expressed pain and anguish over the loss of loved ones in the shooting that left four dead and another four wounded.
  2. Celia Meza, the first Hispanic woman ever to serve as Chicago’s corporation counsel, vowed today to improve the Law Department’s dismal record of minority hiring and speed compliance. Meza also sparred with Ald. Jason Ervin over whether she could effectively represent both the mayor and City Council at the same time despite their occasionally divergent interests.
  3. A security guard has been released from custody after police said he shot a man during an argument near Grant Park last weekend. The state’s attorney’s office and the Chicago Park District, which employs guards in the area of the shooting, did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
  4. James “Jim” Buckner, a longtime dentist and soccer coach in Chicago who also ran a number of businesses, died earlier this month at age 86. Buckner also served as president of the Chicago Urban League, for which he lobbied to get more Black workers into the building trades.
  5. Someone tagged one of the Art Institute of Chicago lions with spray paint last night. A museum spokeswoman said the Art Institute’s conservation team was working to remove the damage.
  6. The Bronzeville-based South Side Community Art Center will celebrate its 80th anniversary as a home for Black creatives tomorrow. Our Evan F. Moore spoke with officials from the center about its legacy and future.
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A bright one

CPS grad Roshaan Khalid barely spoke English 5 years ago. He is headed to Princeton on a full ride this fall.

To say Roshaan Khalid’s had a difficult transition when he moved 7,000 miles to Chicago five years ago from Pakistan is putting it mildly: When Khalid enrolled in eighth grade in Chicago Public Schools, he knew little English and wasn’t sure how he’d be able to learn much.

“The whole [school] system was different. I wasn’t fluent in English, so that was a challenge,” Khalid, 18, says now. “I couldn’t understand my teachers, so I spent more time on my studies.”

Khalid ended up studying so hard that he not only aced his classes at West Ridge Elementary and later Mather High School, he was accepted to the Ivy Leagues. This fall he will head to Princeton University, where he won a full scholarship and plans to major in computer science.

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Roshaan Khalid graduated Saturday from Mather High School on the North Side.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

“What’s amazing is that he’s had a very difficult life, and he’s worked so hard to get to this point,” said Paige Stenzel, Khalid’s high school counselor for three years. “The universe is just going to open up for him.”

Khalid graduated Saturday. He is the salutatorian of his class.

Read Nina Molina’s full story for more on how Roshaan discovered his love for computers and earned an Ivy League scholarship.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

How do you feel about the city and state making Juneteenth an official holiday?

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

Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What’s your favorite video game of all time? Here’s what some of you said...

“Mass Effect trilogy. Nothing has come close for the story, an excellent RPG with FPS elements.” — Daniel Schleier

“Fallout: New Vegas. It’s been out for over a decade, yet I keep returning to it. I swear that it is the one thing that got me through grad school as a coping mechanism. F:NV has some of my favorite, albeit ultra-specific, themes: nostalgia for a time you never existed in, unique and varied interpretations of history’s heroes and villains, and the anxieties of nuclear destruction.” — Colee Wong

“Goldeneye 007 for N64. We used to do bets and play for hours, good ol’ days.” — Kenneth Lopez

“Super Mario World for sure. It is a timeless classic.” — CJ Morgan

“Defender from the early 80s. The whole concept was awesome for the time, flying around and shooting the landers before they picked up the people, or they would turn into mutants!” — Seth Dominick

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