SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has eliminated many local events, including fairs, local festivals, proms, and graduations. However, a local organization is attempting to honor graduates in some way this weekend.
Graduation ceremonies are always a focal point, marking the end of the academic year. The Taking Back Illinois organization is stepping up to the plate to make this a reality in the state capital.
Springfield event to honor PreK-12 and college graduates
A graduation ceremony will be held for preschoolers, as well as fifth and eighth-graders. Among the honorees are high school and college seniors as well. Organizers have included a web form for graduates and their families to utilize so they can be included in the proceedings.
The event kicks off with the national anthem and violin introduction.
Haifley, Walker, DeVore, Durr, and Bailey among speaker list
Event speakers include two pastors from Mattoon — Dan Haifley of Maranatha Baptist Church and Jill Walker of The Revival Church. Thomas DeVore of Sorento, the lead lawyer in a variety of lawsuits against the executive orders of Gov. JB Pritzker including Bailey v. Pritzker, is also a speaker for the event.
Paul Durr, field operations director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois and state representative candidate in District 112, is also on the schedule as a speaker. Durr has also been active as a coordinator for the New Illinois initiative in St. Clair County.
Speeches from two honorary graduates, Elizabeth Brooks and Emily Williams, will take place, with the event capped off with keynote speaker Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia).
The event kicks off at noon on the south side of the Illinois State Capitol lawn in Springfield. We will be on hand to provide coverage via either YouTube or Facebook Live.
The organizers humbly request that politics be set aside during this event and honor the hard work of the graduates.
Event location relocated due to issues with Capitol Police
Since this report, the event is experiencing some complications with the original venue. The organizers are stating in a recent post — and subsequent live video that the event is moving to another location. As shown on their update, it will now be held at 3458 Freedom Drive. According to Google Maps, this is the address for Los Rancheros.
We did not receive a response for requests for clarification from the Governor’s office and Capitol Police over the cancellation as of this update.
Published May 27, 2020, 6:12 PM
Updated May 28, 2020, 5:12 PM