Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation was brought to enslaved people in Texas — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued it, and Chicago-area residents are marking the holiday in a wide variety of ways this weekend.
One of the events, Opal’s Juneteenth Walk and Parade, made its way through the streets of Evanston on Saturday.
“I’m a tear up in a minute,” Ebony Barber Shop owner Brigitte Giles said. “I just wish my dad could have been here to see it.”
Saturday’s celebration was a long time coming for Giles and her barber shop, a Black-owned business that’s been in her family since the 1960’s.
“I never would have dreamed a parade would come to Church and Dodge,” she said.
Evanston was one of numerous communities embracing Juneteenth, which officially became a federal holiday last year after President Joe Biden signed legislation designating June 19 as a new holiday.
“It shows growth,” resident Daniel Smith said. “To go from doing nothing to doing something, it’s a big step.”
Other communities are getting in on the celebrations as well, including West Woodlawn on Chicago’s South Side, where volunteers built a new green space with 800 new plants in an effort to beautify infrastructure for their neighbors.
“When we preserve open land, we also preserve history,” one resident said.
At Sand Ridge Nature Center in Cook County, activities were focused around history and culture of local communities.
“At the Forest Preserve, we are committed to our role and being an inclusive space for everyone,” Forest Preserves of Cook County Supt. Arnold Randall said.
There are still plenty of events left to celebrate Juneteenth this weekend, but for area residents, seeing the incraese in celebrations has been a wonderful experience.
“I look forward to doing this every year,” Evanston resident Jenean Featherson said. “I look forward to making this a tradition.
Here are a few of the celebrations happening in and around Chicago to honor the day:
1619: The Journey of a People, The Musical at Vittum Theater in Chicago
A Juneteenth event filled with musical performances from genres such as hip-hop, blues, and jazz. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 1012 N. Noble St.
A three-day cultural fest. A celebration of activities geared toward families, history, education, entertainment, and the community. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Music Court Circle in Garfield Park.
Juneteenth Extravaganza on Ellis
Music, vendors, and activities are all part of this family-friendly Juneteenth celebration. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 1000 E. 76th St.
Juneteenth in Joliet
Celebrate the history and culture of Juneteenth with music and snacks. From noon to 4 p.m. on June 19 at the Joliet Area Historical Museum.
A Chicago pop-up market showcasing black businesses will include a variety of businesses and shops ranging from beauty to fashion. It will take place at 2:00 p.m. at Hyde Park’s Promontory.
Palm Sunday Music Series Afro Jazz Concert
Musical performances by Black artists on Juneteenth from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 436 E. 47th St.
Lawndale Juneteenth/Father’s Day Celebration
A BBQ meal, a car show, and music to celebrate both Father’s Day and Juneteenth. From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 3200 W. Douglas Blvd.
A host of businesses will set up shop at Gallagher Way to sell their products and offer up their services as a part of the Juneteenth Celebration at Wrigley Field – A Black Entrepreneurs Experience. The event coincides with the Chicago Cubs game Sunday at the friendly confines against the Atlanta Braves at 1:20 p.m.