Secretary Grace Hou
The uprising at The Stonewall Inn in June, 1969, started a revolution—a call to action that continues to inspire members of the LGBTQ+ community to fight for equity, equality, and the freedom to live authentic lives. June is Pride Month, during which we remember trailblazers like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, trans women of color, who catalyzed the movement.
Their efforts, and the efforts of countless others, helped secure many of the rights and freedoms the LGBTQ+ community experiences today.
Still, there is work to be done. As Marsha P. Johnson said, “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” Our shared humanity compels us to continue the work of justice and liberation for all our LGBTQ+ family.
June is also a time to commemorate Juneteenth (short for June Nineteenth), marking the ending of slavery in the United States. Two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, enslaved Texans were informed that they were free; the celebrations and festivities following the announcement began the celebration known as Juneteenth. Last year, Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly established Juneteenth as a State holiday and President Biden and Congress made it a federal holiday, making space for us to recognize this important part of the history of Black Americans.
Celebrating these important occasions is reflective of our mission and core values at IDHS: human dignity, equity, community-informed, urgency, transparency, and kindness. May we use Pride month and the Juneteenth holiday as reminders that the work we do makes an impact on marginalized and disinvested communities across Illinois. I am grateful to be doing this work with you; let’s use these remembrances to fuel our work to advance equity and racial justice.
Grace B. Hou