Just hours ago, Governor Pritzker announced that all large summer events should be canceled this year as a result of the Covid-19 virus. The idea of a Chicago/Evanston summer with no music festivals or farmers' markets is a sad one.
In Evanston, it's especially disappointing that the city's highly anticipated first Juneteenth parade falls victim to the pandemic.
But parade founder Kemone Hendricks hasn't missed a beat. Pivoting quickly, she has turned what would have been a lively parade from ETHS to Twiggs Park into a Digital/Virtual parade.
"I'm excited to refocus and start planning this parade, which will allow people around the world to celebrate Juneteenth with Evanston," said Hendricks, CEO of Evanston Present and Future. "It will give us new opportunities to expand inclusivity and connect with other Juneteenth celebrations, things that we couldn't have done in a 'real-life' parade."
As planned for the 'IRL' parade, an award, named after Hecky Powell's late great-grandfather Forrest E. White, will be given for best float and overall creativity, and Robin Rue Simmons 5th Ward Alderman will still be parade Grand Marshal.
"I want everyone in the community and elsewhere to have something joyous and uplifting to look forward to," Hendricks said.
Ways to support the parade
Social Justice store, click here.
Donate to “Evanston’s First Juneteenth parade" here.
Follow the event on Facebook here.
More about Juneteenth:
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Juneteenth Independence Day, is an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States. By the 21st century Juneteenth was celebrated in most major cities across the United States. Activists are pushing Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 46 of the 50 states.
Parades sponsors and supporters include: Dear Evanston, James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Ridgeville Park District, Evanston Cradle to Career's Advocates for Action, Democratic Party of Evanston, Young, Black and Lit, Evanston Community Foundation, Hagerty Consulting, Central Street, Evanston, Young Evanston Artists - YEA, Evanston History Center Open Communities, E-FAM C & W Market and Ice Cream Parlor, Hecky's Barbecue, Shorefront Legacy Center.
Photo: Kemone's daughter Semari Moore modeling a t-shirt emblazoned with the Juneteenth flag.