Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19, which is the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas got word that they were free. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth Bill on June 18, 2021, designating June 19 as a federal holiday. Listed below are some scheduled Community Programs around Chicago, Teaching Resources, and Anti-Racism Toolkits in recognition of this now federally recognized holiday. Be sure to check out last year’s WITS post, A Holiday Celebrating Black Freedom, by Program Director Ellen Werner.
Chicago In-Person Community Events on June 19, 2021
- JUNETEENTH BLACK TO LIFE CELEBRATION!!!
10:00AM – 3:00PM
“Join us as we commemorate Black resilience in a cultural celebration of peace, love and solidarity. Behind the Museum of Science and Industry, by the pond!!!”
- DuSable Museum Juneteenth Celebration & Grand Reopening
11:00AM – 4:00PM
“To celebrate both the reopening of the Museum and Juneteenth, curators Sadie Woods and Ben LaMar Gay have assembled a star-studded list of Chicago artists to explore the principles of liberation and freedom through music, dance, food, and fellowship traditions. The four-hour performance, titled Earth and the Alter will take place on Saturday, June 19 from 1-5pm on DuSable’s North Lawn.”
- Semicolon Juneteenth Book Fair-The Happiest of Hours!
5:00PM – 9:00PM
“We heard y’all loud and clear, so were bringing back alllll of the nostalgic feels! We’ve rented out a huge loft space in the West Loop, brought in the best bartenders and caterers in the city, and are excited to watch y’all browse and buy books until your hearts are content!”
- Compound Yellow Presents: Freedom Ain’t Free (though our Juneteenth afterparty is!)
6PM – 10PM
“Join Creative Artists and Activists in Service Together (C.A.S.T.) Live! as we host an open mic and performance of Ring Shout and Friends, in consideration and celebration of Juneteenth. Make us your Saturday afterparty after your day’s events, picnics, and parades. ALL are welcome! The event is FREE though we’ll be collecting tips and donations for the amazing arts, activism, and prairie restoration spot of Compound Yellow!”
See below for a few more celebration schedules:
- Juneteenth In Chicago: Here Are 30+ Marches, Picnics, Parades And More To Celebrate (Block Club Chicago)
- Juneteenth 2021: Celebrations, Events Happening This Week Across Chicago (NBC)
- Celebrate Juneteenth in Chicago (Choose Chicago)
- Juneteenth celebrations: What to do, where to go in Chicago and beyond (Chicago Sun-Times)
We encourage you to educate yourself and the young people in your life about the history of this holiday. Please find a list of resources below:
- Teaching Juneteenth: This learning plan on the history of Juneteenth acknowledges hard history while also empowering students to be advocates for change – Written by Coshandra Dillard for Learning for Justice.
- What we can do now, reflections on Juneteenth: This newsletter features many great resources that you can use to inform yourself and to spark conversation with kids of all ages – Courtesy of EmbraceRace.
Anti–Racism: A Daily Practice
Juneteenth is a day that celebrates Black Freedom, and we recognize that the work of Anti-Racism is ongoing. Our collective work towards solidarity and liberation needs to be a daily practice.
- Read 11 Anti-Racist Actions You Can Take at Work—Today and Every Day by Michelle Garcia for The Muse.
- Subscribe to Anti-Racism Daily, a daily newsletter dedicated to dismantling white supremacy.
- Join WITS’s bi-monthly book club, Study Hall, a collaborative learning space for adult learners to actively participate in antiracist conversation and enjoy works by writers of color. We focus not just on Anti-Racist discourse but also celebrate the range of genres and stories by BIPOC authors. Our next meeting is June 24th, at which we will discuss So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
Happy Juneteenth from WITS!