Welcome to our 11th Annual Ethics 101 for Prosecutors Training Seminar
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Cel-Liberation Day or the Black Fourth of July, is an American holiday that commemorates June 19, 1865.
On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation ending the Civil War and granting freedom to all African American slaves. However, many slave states were remote and several slave owners fled to Texas due to its location. These slave owners continued to engage in human bondage and the Emancipation Proclamation was not enforced there until June 19, 1865 more than two years after the Civil War ended.
JUNETEENTH. Commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth is observed on June 19. The celebration originated in Texas when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston. He announced on June 19, 1865, with General Orders, Number 3 that the Civil War was over and all slaves were now freedmen
Texas declared Juneteenth an official state holiday in 1980. Forty-six of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or ceremonial holiday, or a day of observance. The four states that do not recognize Juneteenth are Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. In 1997, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF), Ben Haith, created the Juneteenth flag.
The colors red, white, and blue echo the American flag to symbolize that the enslaved people and their descendants were Americans. The star in the middle pays homage to Texas, while the bursting "new star" on the "horizon" of the red and blue fields represents a new freedom and a new people.
The Juneteenth Flag celebrates the beginning of the emancipation of slavery on June 19th, 1865. The flag represents the history and freedom of African American slaves and their descendants. An important moment in American history to celebrate every summer. Americans have celebrated this holiday for over 150 years.
As State’s Attorney of Winnebago County I am deeply saddened by the death of Mr. George Floyd and want to again express my condolences to the Floyd family as he is laid to rest today in Houston, Texas. Whenever there is a loss of life there is a flower that has been plucked, and forever removed from the family garden. However, when that loss of life is the result of someone who has breached their sworn duty to serve and protect it is inexcusable.
As a career prosecutor serving as both State’s Attorney and Assistant State’s Attorney, I entered this role because I believe in truth and justice. Even when my decisions were unpopular, I knew that those decisions were made in an ethical and honest manner and in accordance with the law. I believe that the state’s attorney’s office should be reflective of the community in which it serves and those who commit crimes whether a civilian, police officer, or in any other profession should be held accountable.
As former special assistant state’s attorney to Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon, I served on the trial team that successfully prosecuted and held former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke accountable for the murder of sixteen year old Laquan McDonald. Therefore, I am hopeful that the Floyd family and other families will find comfort in knowing that with God all things are possible and that they will receive justice in the loss of their loved ones.
Marilyn Hite Ross
Winnebago County State's Attorney
Although many may find the current protests inconvenient, the right to peaceably assemble is a guaranteed right. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states as follows:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
This is one of the basic tenets on which our country was founded. The First Amendment provides a viable means for people to petition the government to redress their grievances and concerns and to communicate their message to the masses. I want to thank the leaders and organizers for organizing peaceful events and for exercising their freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in a peaceful manner. For I am reminded that sometimes:
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
I as well as law enforcement will continue to work to ensure a safe environment for those exercising their First Amendment rights in a peaceful manner.
Marilyn Hite Ross
Winnebago County State’s Attorney
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25th as National Missing Children's Day. National Missing Children's Day is dedicated to encouraging parents, guardians, caregivers, and others concerned with the well-being of children to make child safety a priority. It serves as a reminder to continue our efforts to reunite missing children with their families and an occasion to honor those dedicated to this noble cause.
Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health Awareness organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health). Each year in mid-March Mental Health America releases a toolkit of materials to guide preparation for outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, Mental Health America, its affiliates, and other organizations interested in mental health conduct a number of activities which are based on a different theme each year.
Message to the Community from State's Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross Regarding COVID-19 Coronavirus
It is a blessing and a privilege and an honor to serve as State's Attorney of Winnebago County. I am asking for your help to keep the community sage during the Corona Virus pandemic. How can you help? By staying home except for essential services. Both President Trump and Governor Pritzker have requested that all of us comply with the stay at home order to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus. It is inconvenient, it is unprecidented, but it is absolutely necessary and your compliance will save lives. Even thouth you may not have any symptoms, you would inadvertently transfer the virus to those you interact with. Wouldn't it be devastating to discover that you were the carrier who transmitted COVID-18 to someone who became ill and died? We know that the virus needs a host. Don;t let the host be you. We must consider the safety of others, our health care providers, our first responders, and our health care facilities. We do not want to over burden them beyond their resources. My plea to you is simple: stay safe, stay home and save lives! For we are stronger apart and we stand together apart.
I encourage you to "be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid...for the Lord thy God is with thee, he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee!" Deuteronomy 31:6
God bless you, God bless Winnebago County, God bless the great State of Illinos, and God Bless America.