Juneteenth, also called Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, or Freedom Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and is observed every year on June 19. Federal troops arrived in Texas on June 19, 1865 and brought news of freedom, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, to America’s remaining slaves.

This year, Evanston Present and Future will present the Evanston Juneteenth Celebration 2020 as a month-long series of events, both online and virtual,  and informally in the community through activities families and friends can participate in from the comfort and safety of their homes.

Kemone Hendricks, Founder and President of Evanston Present and Future, brings the Evanston Juneteenth Celebration to the City of Evanston. This year, due to COVID-19 limitations, the Evanston Juneteenth Celebration will be held predominantly online. The event  kicked off with “30 Days of Juneteenth” honoring the late Hecky Powell; the group’s activities are posted to the group’s Facebook event every Friday in June. The posts will also commemorate Mr.  Powell’s legacy and are meant to engage with the community.

The Evanston Juneteenth Celebration will feature music and dance performances from local youth, presentations by Shorefront Legacy Center founder Dino Robinson, remarks from Ald. Robin Rue Simmons who is preparing a Juneteenth Proclamation for Evanston in honor of Hecky Powell’s wish expressed at last year’s Juneteenth celebration, remarks from Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty, a special guest interview with Opal Lee – the 93-year-old social activist from Fort Worth, Texas who is traveling the country to gain support for making Juneteenth a national holiday, and much more. Tim Rhoze, artistic director of the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, will also present a community play reading the following day.