3rd Annual Juneteenth Illinois Celebration to Be Held June 16 & 17

The Cook County community is eagerly preparing for a two-day celebration and community recognition event as part of “Juneteenth Illinois.”

This initiative serves to honor the official June 19th date and commemorate the historic occasion. This year marks the third annual celebration of Juneteenth by the county since its designation as an official holiday in December 2020.

Leading the efforts this year are Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer (2nd District) and Barbara Deer, the Executive Director of Juneteenth IL. The collaborative initiative, Juneteenth Illinois, brings together prominent figures such as Cook County Commissioner Bill Lowry (3rd District), Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore (4th District), Congressman Danny Davis (7th District), Rep. Lakesia Collins (9th District), Alderwoman Monique Scott (24th Ward), Alderman Walter Burnett (27th Ward) and the Cook County Juneteenth Joint Planning Committee.

The highly anticipated, day-long panel of activities will be held on June 17 at Malcolm X College at 1900 W. Jackson Boulevard in Chicago. Attendees can expect engaging discussions and enlightening conversations centered around the significance and impact of Juneteenth.

Mayor Brandon Johnson is scheduled to deliver a speech during the Juneteenth Scholarship Reception, which takes place on the evening of June 16. This reception aims to acknowledge and support the educational endeavors of deserving students. Scholarships of $10,000 will be awarded to students. Ten newly selected students will receive scholarships. Additionally, returning students will be granted additional funds to support their academic pursuits.

Executive Director, Barbara Deer said, “I’m grateful that through these initiatives we are able to sow financial seeds of knowledge via scholarship and mentoring for youth from underserved communities, while also highlighting the accomplishments and ongoing challenges that we face through education.”

The evening program will highlight outstanding youth leadership in the arts, featuring African dance, a drumline, soulful music, the annual “Divine 9 roll call” and delicious food. The sold-out event will take place at 540 West Madison rooftop.

On June 17, the celebration will commence with a warm welcome and opening remarks from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, accompanied by Executive Director Barbara Deer.

Juneteenth IL will be held throughout the entire day and offers a diverse range of activities such as panel discussions, a resource fair, a blood drive, and entertainment featuring performers like Kells the Artist, Bobbi Ponder, Sean Black, D’Moment, and more.

Entry to all the panels and activities at Juneteenth Illinois 2023 is completely free for the public, although it is highly recommended that you pre-register for this event. 

“Last year’s celebratory event was a major success and educated many Chicagoans about the work being done in this city around justice and the people doing it,” said Commissioner Dennis Deer. “We plan to continue that tradition this year, building community and awareness.”

Here is the schedule for June 17 at Malcolm X College:

               Saturday, June 17, 2023

8:00-10:00am                   Panel #1 Health Breakfast and Panel: Health & Wellness – Equity in Healthcare

10:15-11:15am                 Panel #2: Justice Panel: Understanding the Safe-T Act

11:30am-12:30pm            Panel #3: Economic Development Panel: Black Entrepreneurship

1:00-2:00pm                      Panel #4: Education Panel: Investing in Educational Institutions & Global Opportunities

3:00-4:00pm                     Family Entertainment

In addition, as part of Juneteenth Illinois 2023, the website www.JuneteenthIllinois.com serves as a comprehensive platform where people can access resources and information about events taking place across the state. It is a central hub for the public to explore how Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is celebrated in Illinois.

“It is a clearinghouse for all things Juneteenth in Illinois,” said Deer. “The site showcases a myriad of commemorations of Juneteenth throughout the state under a single hub.”

The website is regularly updated with new information. Organizations and businesses are strongly encouraged to submit their details to be included in the resources and events section. To add an event, simply complete the online form available on the website.

Furthermore, Juneteenth Illinois 2023 is sponsored by several organizations, including PepsiCo, Aetna, Gift of Hope, Chase Bank, Malcolm X College, Chicago Federation of Labor, Superior Ambulance, Habilitative Systems, Inc., Wyn-Win Communications, New Covenant Community Development Corporation, 1 Real Freedom, Chicago Family Partnership, Omega Psi Phi PMM Chapter, North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council, Hire 360, 540 West Madison, Steans Family Foundation, Beyond Catering, Prestige Health, and Evolent Health.

For more information about Juneteenth Illinois, please visit www.Juneteenthillinois.com.

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