Like all great things on the Internet, Black Twitter likely had a hand in it. On August 4 the nation commemorated Barack Obama’s 56th birthday online with #ObamaDay. But digital recognition isn’t enough for arguably the best president this nation has ever seen. Illinois recognized the overdue need to honor the president with his own day.
Illinois has declared August 4 as Barack Obama Day. Obama began his political career in the state prior to winning the 2008 election. So it was only right that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the state holiday into effect on Friday. Obama Day will take place on the 44th president’s birthday every year. It’s inaugural day is expected to take place in 2018.
According to the Senate bill, the holiday will be “observed throughout the state as a day set apart to honor the 44th President of the United States of America who began his career serving the people of Illinois in both the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate, and dedicated his life to protecting the rights of Americans and building bridges across communities.”
When Sen. Emil Jones III initially proposed the bill in February it included the closure of schools and state institutions. In other words, the city would take a day off. Lawmakers appreciated the concept behind the proposal, but not all of them were here for the paid holiday component.
After the bill was revised lawmakers were officially on board.
This bill was probably the first occasion in which any Obama-related legislature was able to pass through a Senate and House without opposition. (Granted it was a Illinois’ Senate and House, but still.)
Although Barack Obama Day is only a statewide holiday, we’re going to celebrate like it’s national.