Watch CBS News

Chicagoans Call For Racial Equality During Juneteenth March

CHICAGO (CBS) --  Thousands in Chicago marched near Grant Park to commemorate Juneteenth with messages to end police brutality, reform law enforcement procedures and a call for racial equality and social justice.

Marchers wore Black Lives Matter shirts, carried signs and a large banner with the image of George Floyd.

The Minneapolis man died in police custody in May. Video  shows the now ex-Minneapolis officer holding Floyd down with his knee on Floyd's neck. That man, Derek Chauvin, is charged with Floyd's murder.

Days after Floyd's murder, civil unrest demonstrations took place in Minneapolis and across the country, including Chicago, where protesters demanded justice for Floyd and the countless others who died at the hands of law enforcement.

Marchers had moments of silence, with many of them yelling the names of those who died at the hands of police. They held fists the air for Laquan McDonald. But George Floyd's memory is in the forefront of this change and more around the nation.

Juneteenth began in 1865. On June 19th, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and so had slavery. This was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted in 1863.

CBS 2's Steven Graves covered the event. He said Juneteenth has long been celebrated by the Black community and now Juneteenth is getting a national spotlight.

"We know that it is a pivotal time right now, as people protest police brutality as we remember. Men, women who have been killed at the hands of police right now are fighting for social justice," said Graves, who added that the marchers called recent protests, demonstrations and calls to action not just a moment in time, but a movement that will spark change.


Some of the lawmakers who joined faith leaders, community activists and others marching included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Governor JB Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Straton, Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D) and Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D.) Pastor Chris Harris of Bright Star Church was one of the lead organizers of the event.


Pritzker said he was proud to march in the Juneteenth event that calls for justice and equality.

"The meaning for us is that justice is long overdue. And here on Juneteenth, it's a time for us to stand up for that's why I've advocated for making Juneteenth a state holiday. And I know that that's something that's being considered at the federal level as well, Pritzker said.

The governor added that the event isn't just about the acknowledgement of the historic significance of Juneteenth. Pritzker said work has to be done in the arena of accountability when it comes to law enforcement.

"We've got to make sure that we change the laws. I think all of us have been so upset about for far too long. And of course there are the needless death killings of people at the hands of police. Second, (it's) very important that we get criminal justice reform passed in the state. And then lastly, we've got to make major investments in our communities, Black and brown communities, particularly in creating new businesses, making sure that we're building up wealth in those communities."

He added that work is underway to make Juneteenth a holiday on both the state and national level.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.