Kemone Hendricks, Founder of Evanston Present and Future and Evanston’s Juneteenth Parade, made this year’s Juneteenth theme “A journey towards real reparations.” The parade will begin at 11 a.m. on June 19 at the Robert Crown Center and proceed north on Dodge Avenue to Simpson Street, east on Simpson Street to the Morton Civic Center.
Speeches, performances, and festivities will take place in Ingraham Park, behind the Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.
Juneteenth commemorates the true end of slavery with the celebration of complete emancipation throughout the United States. On June 19, 1865, federal troops arrived in Texas to free America’s remaining 250,000-plus enslaved people. The Emancipation Proclamation had been issued more than two and a half years before, but the order to free slaves was not recognized in parts of Texas.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is set to sign a bill making Juneteenth an official State holiday. “Now is the time to celebrate Juneteenth and the time for the Black community to lead and take charge of the holiday and the celebrations,” said Ms. Hendricks.
“With our Juneteenth Celebrations, Evanston will not only lead the nation in reparations, we will set the example with unity and truth. Juneteenth is America’s real Independence/Freedom day and an inflection point for social change and social justice,” she added.
On July 3 and 4, Ms. Hendricks will host Opal Lee, celebrity social impact leader and the grandmother of Juneteenth for what Ms. Hendricks’ calls “Juneteenth 4th.” Ms. Lee will be in Evanston on July 4 for an historic 2.5 OPAL walk to commemorate the 2.5 years it took for slavery to end.