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Tomorrow is Juneteenth: join in the commemoration

Evanston's first Juneteenth parade (virtual), organized by Kemone Hendricks of Evanston Present and Future is scheduled for 6 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, June 19

Juneteenth, which has only recently gained broader recognition, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It dates back to June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers, led by General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil war had ended and that enslaved people were now free.

Kemone Hendricks wearing the Black Lives Matter earrings she's selling to help ensure that Juneteenth can be celebrated in Evanston in the future.
Kemone Hendricks

To find out more about Juneteenth and the virtual events scheduled for tomorrow, 6 p.m. Friday, June 19 and 6 p.m., Saturday, June 20, check out my story in the Evanston Patch. Remember to stop by the Juneteenth pop-up shop at C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to get your Juneteenth yard sign and t-shirt!

Also, mark your calendar to join in the Evanston Juneteenth Car Parade at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 27.

"It's not only a Black holiday that just Black people should be celebrating," says Hendricks. "Everyone should be celebrating Juneteenth because it's America's real emancipation day."

With the recent police murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and others, and the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on Black and brown communities, this year and this moment seem particularly ripe for Juneteenth to rise from relative obscurity.

"We need to really take a look at America, for what it is, what it still is, and what we're still fighting for," says Hendricks. "Part of that is recognizing and celebrating Juneteenth."

Yesterday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered flags to be flown at half-staff tomorrow.

Talking to Channel 5, a Pritzker spokesperson said, "The governor recognizes that now, more than ever, Juneteenth is a day that reminds us that the fight for justice and equity across the nation is not over, and while we will celebrate the end of slavery, we must also recognize the systemic racism that has time and time again reared its ugly head and honor the memory of those who have died simply because of the color of their skin."


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