Today is Juneteenth, the annual commemoration and celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.
On this date, 155 years ago–June 19, 1865–Union troops entered Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil war had ended and that all those enslaved were now free, according to juneteenth.com. These events took place two and half years after president Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan 1, 1863. The proclamation, however, had had little impact in Texas due to the lack of Union soldiers to enforce it. And so Juneteenth marks the definite end of slavery in all of the states.
With the ongoing pursuit for racial justice across the country, this year’s Juneteenth celebrations–in commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States– are more significant than ever. Marches, rallies and other celebrations will be taking place all around Chicago.
Here are some of the events you can join today both in the city and online. Participants are asked to wear a mask/face covering for all presencial events.
- Million Man March: Celebrate freedom and the end of slavery and march against all injustices still happening to the Black community. March for Us‘ Million Man March will start on 701 S. State St near Jones College Prep School at 11 am and will end at Daley Plaza around 2 pm. For more information on the Million Man March click here.
- Juneteenth Car Parade:Celebrate ancestors and emancipation day throughout the city. Participants are asking to bring their flags, families and cars to this city-wide car parade being held 11 am-2 pm. There are four meeting points for the parade: 87th and Dan Ryan in South Side, 75th and Stony Island in East Side, Hamlin & Madison in West side or North Ave. & Halsted in North Side. For more information access the Facebook event.
- Chicago Peace and Equality Juneteenth Rally and Celebration 2020: Join this peaceful protest to celebrate the end of slavery and in support of the current Black Lives Matter movement. Participants are being asked to meet at 2400 S. State St. at 6pm. T-shirts and masks will be provided to attendees until supplies run out. For more information visit the Facebook event.
- Free Black Children’s Library: Following its mission of educating young Black children about social justice and civic engagement through art and literature, the non-profit Brown Books and Paintbrushes has created the Free Black Children’s Library as part of its summer pop-up series and Juneteenth celebrations. The pop-up which has been inspired by the Free Black Women’s Library will be accepting donations with the initiative of getting “high-quality black children’s books in the hands of all children in Illinois and the surrounding areas.” The pop-up will be located at the Harold Washington Cultural Center and will open from 1-3pm. Make sure to check out Brown Books and Paintbrushes’ website and Instagram page for more event updates!
- Juneteenth Faith-led March and Rally: Starting at 12 pm, Grant Park will be the site of an interfaith peaceful protest organised by Bronzeville’s Bright Star Church. The march will start at noon from Roosevelt and Columbus and will end in Grant Park. For more information and to register click here.
- Juneteenth 2020 Census and Free Lunch Giveaway: Hosted by South Central Community Services, the celebrations will feature information on the importance of the 2020 Census and sign-ups as well as free Italian food. Head on over to the center located at 8rd street and Ellis Avenue for the celebrations that will start around 11 am. Supplies are limited so you might want to get there as early as you can. For more information, visit their website.
- Roll N Peace Critical Mass Bike Tour/ Juneteenth Celebration: The non-profit Think Outside Da Box is celebrating Juneteenth with its fifth bicycle “Roll N Peace” event. Participants will take a tour around Englewood to promote the mental health and wellness of its community. Registration opens at 4-7pm at the historic Chicago Firehouse Engine Company 84 on Englewood Square. The tour quicks off at 8 pm.
- Social Change Juneteenth Giveaway: Held at the Dusable Museum of African American History on 740 E 56th Pl from 11 am-2 pm, families can walk up for free food. The first 19 families arriving to the event will also receive a one-year museum membership.
- Black Culture Week Juneteenth Caravan: Black Culture Week’s Juneteenth Caravan will depart at 3:30 pm from the corner of Kildare and Washington and will finish on Chicago’s South Side’s. The city-wide caravan will pass through historic neighborhoods and sites on its way to the last stop which will be the A. Phillip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum. Besides the city-wide caravan, Black Culture Week has organized a day’s full of celebrations that kick off at 8 am with virtual prayer and meditation. For more information on the celebrations make sure to visit their website!
- A New Freedom: Black Voices Honoring Juneteenth in a Time of Struggle: This virtual concert hosted by the Chicago Children’s Choir will feature music and spoken word performed by Black CCC alumni. The event will be livestreamed both on the Chicago Children’s Choir Facebook page and Youtube Channel. The livestream will begin at 6 pm with virtual doors opening at 5:45 pm. If you wish to attend the virtual concert make sure to RSVP on Facebook.
- Juneteenth Live Discussion with D-Composed: Join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the members of D-composed to celebrate Juneteenth. The Chicago-based chamber music ensemble highlights composers and musicians within the African Diaspora. The event will be held 6-7:30 pm via Zoom. You can register here.
- Liberatory Practices by Seed Lynn and Sady Woods: To commemorate the anniversary of Juneteenth artists Seed Lynn and Sady Woods will explore diasporic emancipatory celebrations through mediums of photography and music. The program will conclude by a DJ set by Sady Woods better known as Afrodjia and the launch of the month-long Virtual Juneteenth Marketplace, supporting Black-owned, South Side creative businesses. The event will be held 12-1:30 pm via Facebook Live.
- Old Town School of Folk Music’s Virtual Juneteenth Concert: The Old Town School of Folk Music is celebrating Juneteenth in colaboration with Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and Live the Spirit Residency. The online event which starts at 8 pm will feature performances by The Young Masters directed by Ernest Dawkins and the Great Black Music Ensemble. All donations will be donated to Chicago Torture Justice Center to address the trauma of law enforcement violence and institutionalised racism. You can watch it online via Old Town School’s YouTube channel.
- Rebuild Foundation’s Juneteenth Quarantine Concert: In partnership with Experimental Sound Studio, Rebuild Foundation is hosting a Juneteenth edition of their Quarantine Concert series. The event features performances by Krista Franklin, Meagan McNeal, YAW, avery r young and Duane Powell. The concert will start at 5:30 pm and will last until 8:30 pm. For more information on the livestream click here.
- Virtual Juneteenth Journey Through African American History and Forum: For Your Joy, an Illinois-based multi-media production company, will take attendees on a virtual journey through the major eras in African American History. The experience will feature live performances and a forum in which to discuss the current Black Lives Matter movement. Tickets are free but donations are welcome. Get your tickets here.
[Featured image: @maxwbender via Unsplash]