Illinois Legislature designates Aug. 4 as Barack Obama Day

Illinois Legislature designates Aug. 4 as Barack Obama Day

It's almost been a year since Barack Obama left the White House, and Illinoisans have a front-row seat as his place is cemented in history.

The latest honor for the Chicago-based president comes from his old stomping grounds — the Illinois General Assembly. A bill establishing a statewide, annual Barack Obama Day on Aug. 4 — his birthday — passed unanimously in both the state House and Senate and will take effect in 2018.

The holiday will be categorized as commemorative, which means that workplaces won't close to celebrate it.

State Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, co-sponsored the bill and said it's important to commemorate the country's first black president.

"We began to talk about the significance of having President Obama come from Illinois," Ammons said about her state colleagues. "It was a big discussion — some of it derailed over costs associated with state employees — but I think we understood the significance of having a president we can see, touch and feel as close as Obama."

Most Americans don't get to see a president rise from their home state within their lifetime, much less one who breaks a significant glass ceiling in the process.

"However you may feel inside your soul about (Obama), we know history has been made and can't be changed," Ammons said. "In the coming years, we'll see many things to bring reverence to Obama. We should all be proud."

Of course, Illinois is already known as the state where the 16th president got his start in politics. Abraham Lincoln served in the state House before moving up in politics.

For some Illinoisans, Obama's legacy will be right in their backyard. His library — the Barack Obama Presidential Center — will be built in Chicago's Jackson Park in the coming years.

"People from all around the world will come to Illinois just to see that library — that's not a small thing," Ammons said.

Ammons said as a black woman, she sees Obama's presidency as one way the civil-rights movement came full circle. She said she still remembers how, when Obama was first elected, the Rev. Jesse Jackson "had absolutely no words; all he had was tears."

"I really appreciate the sacrifice from all of those who made it possible for me to be an elected official — as well as someone who can vote," Ammons said.

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BruckJr wrote on December 28, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Great idea.  Can't wait for Ammons to sponsor bills for the other presidents from Illinois - Lincoln, Grant and Reagan.

spangwurfelt wrote on December 28, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Glad to hear it!

Of course, all the snowflakes will have their feelings hurt that we're actually honoring a man who is ... you know ... black.

 

michaeltdoyle wrote on December 30, 2017 at 2:12 pm
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We are NOT Barack Obama's home state, by a long shot. He spent 24 years in other places before moving here in 1985, including Hawaii, his real home state where he spent most of that time, Indonesia, where his mother worked for a few years, and several years in Los Angeles and New York, where he did his university studies. 

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on January 03, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Using your logic, we wouldn't have much of a claim on Lincoln, either.   He wasn't born in Illinois, he didn't move here until he was 21 and he only stayed for 30 years before leaving for Washington.