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Just after Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday, Evanston residents gathered Saturday to celebrate locally.
The parade and community celebration took place around Evanston, ending at Ingraham Park under blue skies and with perfect temperatures. Following the parade, community members were invited to join in for an afternoon of art, music, speakers, vendors and food.
There were more than 100 parade entries this year, said Kemone Hendricks, founder of Evanston Present and Future.
“I am happy and honored that everyone came out for the first celebration of Juneteenth as a national holiday,” Hendricks said. “It’s really historic and it’s really important that the Evanston community, since we’re talking about reparations, celebrates Juneteenth as a community.”
Juneteenth, also referred to as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, or Freedom Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss made a proclamation recognizing Saturday, June 19, as “Juneteenth” in the city of Evanston.
“Juneteenth is Evanston at its best, this is a great, great event,” said former Evanston mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, who rode in a car carrying parade marshal Cheryl Judice of Evanston.
The parade arrived at Ingraham Park in Evanston for the Juneteenth celebration on June 19, 2021. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)
Judice is the wife of late Evanston restaurateur Hecky Powell, founder of Hecky’s Barbecue. Powell died in May 2020 from complications of COVID-19. He was a community leader and presence with the Forrest E. Powell Foundation, which supports education and strong work ethics.