Juneteenth 2023: Chicago area celebrating with events across city, suburbs

Monday, June 19, 2023
Chicago area celebrates Juneteenth with events across city, suburbs
Juneteenth 2023 is here and communities across the Chicago area will hold events to celebrate the holiday, including in Aurora, Hammond and more.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Juneteenth day is here!

June 19 marks the day enslaved people were officially declared freed in the United States, back in 1865. There are many celebrations happening across the Chicago area Monday.

Communities throughout the city and suburbs are holding events Monday to celebrate.

In the community around North Lawndale College Prep, Juneteenth is a good day to do good in the neighborhood.

"Us coming together on this day, it's just good," said Meagan Greenfield, senior.

Meagan and Morgan Greenfield, both seniors, are also part of the Peace Warriors program, young people committed to living peacefully and being problem solvers. So this Juneteenth they enjoyed clearing out old weeds and planting something healthy and new in their community.

"It's a representation of showing that we are here, showing out on this nice holiday, gardening, it's just a fun community thing," Morgan said.

"It's like making the community look better, making it look nice 'cause out of all the things that happen in our community, we want them to go good in our community," said Meagan.

North Lawndale College Prep CEO Jemia Cunningham-Elder chose the plants for the garden. Some are vegetables and herbs for the students to appreciate. There are also some blooming plants for their memorial garden.

"This past year were lost a student, the year before we lost a student. Over the years we've lost many students and in this garden, it's a great to say though there is loss in our community there is a ton of life," she said.

At the DuSable Museum of African American History, there are activities and music outside as part of a day of festivities.

"It's a day of celebration, it's a day of freedom, it's a day of knowledge also and awareness it brings my heart such joy to see the whole community all colors everyone it out here celebrating this day," said museum president and CEO Perri Irmer.

"You have to know where you have been to know where you are going so it's very important for us to keep this a part of our everyday lives," said Deneita Brown, celebrant.

There is a daylong celebration taking place in Pullman, with a block party and a basketball championship.

How people came to celebrate Juneteenth in the United States

But organizers want people here to understand that Juneteenth is about a lot more than a party. It is why for 11 years now, they've referred to the festivities as a community recommitment celebration, a celebration with a different theme each year.

This year's theme is Paint the Hood Orange, to end gun violence. But above all else, they said it's an opportunity to celebrate, history, heritage and culture.

"The reason it's important we do that here is because the first National Park Rangers were Buffalo Soldiers and those were the gentleman that rode into Galveston Texas to let the slaves know that slavery was over, so it's only right that we bring it full circle and come right here to this community," David Peterson, executive director of the Pullman porter Museum, said. "It's about understanding who we are and where we come from. Having that cultural pride. So we understand that if I do certain things in my neighborhood that doesn't reflect the type of pride that I should have. If I think I have a hard life and that's my excuse to do something wrong I just have to think about slavery. People who didn't even have a change or any of the opportunities we have."

'Our Chicago: Freedom Music' celebrates Juneteenth 2023 and the power of Black music

Both Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Interim Police Superintendent Fred Waller are expected to make appearances at some point throughout the day in Pullman. The parade will segue directly into the block party where there will be music, food an all sorts of other fun stuff. And more than 500 youth have already signed up for the basketball tournament so it should be a fun day out for all.


Aurora will hold two events Monday, with the first one being a youth summit. Aurora area kids will have an empowering and educational experience for those in middle school, high school, and college. The summit runs from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at One Aurora Plaza inside, 8 E Galena Blvd in Aurora.

Aurora will hold its 2nd Annual Flag Raising with remarks from the youngest black mayor in the united states in Earle, Arkansas Mayor Jaylen Smith, who took office earlier this year at the age of 18. The South Shore Drill Team will also perform. This begins at 1 p.m.

What's open, what's closed on Juneteenth

360 Chicago (875 N Michigan Ave.)

A Juneteenth celebration will take place at the observation deck atop 875 N. Michigan Ave., formerly known as the John Hancock Building.

The deck will open at 9 a.m. with booths sponsored by dozens of Black-owned businesses. Then at 10 a.m. a freedom quilt (courtesy of the Palatine Public Library) will be unveiled. There will also be a live DJ all morning long and at 2 p.m. there will be live performances by the team at I Am A Gentleman.

DuSable Black History Museum

In honor of Juneteenth, the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center will present a day-long Juneteenth celebration, featuring activities, performances, and discussions suitable for the entire family.

As part of the festivity line up, the museum will host "Hip Hop Communiversity: A Conversation Celebrating 50 Years of Hip Hop." This panel discussion will feature hip hop legend Kool Moe Dee along with culture critic "Scoop" Jackson and music industry legend George Daniels. Kool Moe Dee will also take the stage to perform during a special "tribute" for the 50th anniversary of hip hop.

What's open, what's closed on Juneteenth

Pullman Porter Museum

The day will also include a family-friendly games station, African marketplace, musical performances, as well as a "hip hop yoga" session, horseback rides, inflatable's, along with a community BBQ. The event runs from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. at the museum, 740 e 56th Pl in Chicago.

Pullman Porter Museum

The National a Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum will host its 11th annual "Juneteenth" community recommitment celebration. It'll run from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. with the festivities taking place in three joint locations, Pullman Porter Museum (817 e 104th St in Chicago), Corliss High School (821 E 103rd St in Chicago), and Butler College Prep (821 e 103rd St in Chicago)

The day-long schedule of events will begin with a parade/walk that segues into a block party and youth basketball tournament championship at Corliss High School and Butler College Prep. The parade begins to assembly at 10 a.m. at Gately Stadium (810 E 103rd St in Chicago). Each year, they have a different theme for why 'community recommitment' is important. This year's theme is 'Paint The Hood Orange' as they stand in solidarity with Mothers Nationally Against Gun Violence. More than 500 youth have already signed up for the basketball tournament and the championship games. The block party will include food, vendors, music, performances and special presentations.


Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. and their Juneteenth committee invite the public to attend the third annual Juneteenth celebration. This year the committee will be honoring the Hammond Central boys varsity basketball team for winning the class 4a regional championship game in Michigan City earlier this year. The celebration begins with a short program in freedom plaza of Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Park. There will be food trucks, craft vendors, music by DJ Okarri, and much more. It'll start at 10 a.m. at 5925 Columbia Ave. in Hammond.

NLCP (1165 S/ Christiana Ave.)

This North Lawndale College Prep staff and students, alongside members from the community, will come together for their inaugural odyssey day of service. Known for their nationally recognized student peace warriors, NLCP will honor the Juneteenth holiday by gathering over 50 staff, students, and members of their community to plant a peace garden outside their school and create peace corners in every classroom. It'll run from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the school's Christiana campus, 1165 S. Christiana Ave. in Chicago.


The village of Westchester will host a Juneteenth ceremony. It'll be a flag raising ceremony that's open to not just those from the near west suburb but from around the area. The program and ceremony will include a Juneteenth resolution from Justin Robinson, a benediction, and then the raising of the flag. The ceremony begins at 11 a,m, at village hall, 10300 W. Roosevelt Rd.


The African American Museum at the England Manor hosts a Juneteenth youth celebration. The Juneteenth youth celebration is filled with free food, music, games, activities, and black history information. It'll run from 12-5 p.m. at Whittier Elementary School field, 901 N Lewis Ave.


The Joliet Area Historical Museum hosts a Juneteenth event with the ultimate goal of the annual event being to "spread living history all over downtown Joliet." Features of the event will include conversations on the evolution of race relations, including adapting to changing, bridging economic gaps and how to positively impact the future. A popup of local businesses will be available at 12 p.m. with the program itself running from 1-5 p.m. at the museum, 204 N Ottawa St. in Joliet.

Douglass Park

This summer, the Chicago History Museum is reimagining their celebrations. CHM is presenting their own "civic season" in partnership with Made By Us. The celebrations and programming will kick-off at Juneteenth with the museum serving as a space to help civic-curious Chicagoans connect with their community, build new skills, and provide a roadmap to future civic participation. The museum is hosting a Juneteenth event in partnership with Light Up Lawndale. The Juneteenth event will be a general "freedom party" over in Douglass Park. It'll run from 12-3 p.m. at the park field house, 1401 S Sacramento Dr in Chicago.

Austin neighborhood

Members of the Austin community are excited to celebrate Juneteenth as a way to safely kick off summer fun in Chicago.. The event will include music, dance, food, family activities, and much more. It'll run from 1-8 p.m. at 5412 W Washington Blvd in Chicago.


Illinois' 7th District State Representative and Speaker of the House Emanuel "Chris" Welch hosts a Juneteenth and post-Father's Day Festival. This event is free and open to the public taking place at Memorial Park District in Hillside behind the Adventure Bay pool. The event will include food and drinks, games & activities, bounce houses, vendors, artists, and entertainers. The event runs from 2-6 p.m. at Memorial Park District, 639 N Wolf Rd in Hillside.

Envision Unlimited

Envision Unlimited is celebrating juneteenth with a ride on the Major Taylor Trail. Close to 70 people riding bicycles, tricycles, tandems and duet bikes with Envision Unlimited will take to the Major Taylor Trail to celebrate freedom. A mural on the trail tells the story of Major Taylor, a famous African-American professional bicycle racer in the early 20th century, who challenged racial prejudice on and off the track, becoming a role model for other athletes facing racial discrimination. It'll run from 2-5 p.m. with the group ride starting at the Envision Unlimited Frick Center, 2124 W 82nd Pl in Chicago, near Major Taylor Trail and Dan Ryan Woods. The trail continues to Whistler Woods. After the ride there will be BBQ at Frick Center.

Purdue University Northwest

Purdue University Northwest will celebrate Juneteenth with a celebrate freedom day. PNW's "celebrate freedom day" is free and open to the public featuring performances by the Portage High School "Steppaz" step-dance team and the Lauren Dukes Band, roller skating and laser tag provided by Thrillamaze mobile family entertainment, art activities such as bracelet-making and map-stitching, and food. Educational table stations at the celebration will include a display on Black athletes in history, Juneteenth-centric reading materials from PNW libraries, and a display by the celebrating Naomi Anderson Project. It'll run from 3-6 p.m. in Founders Plaza North of the Student Union and library building, 2233 173rd St. in Hammond.