Juneteenth 2023: St. Joseph M.B. Church celebrates freedom with parade through East Garfield Park

ByChristian Piekos WLS logo
Saturday, June 17, 2023
West Side church celebrating freedom with 9th annual Juneteenth Parade
St. Joseph Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago's East Garfield Park neighborhood celebrated freedom with its annual Juneteenth parade.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Joined together in song, neighbors on the West Side celebrate sweet freedom.

"It's a wonderful thing to see all people coming together," said Mauvita Rash.

The snare of drums sets the tone for a Juneteenth celebration in East Garfield Park.

"For so many years it wasn't celebrated, even in the Midwest. Only in Texas," explained Rev. Donnell Harison, the pastor of St. Joseph Missionary Baptist Church.

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in Texas back in 1865.

St. Joseph Missionary Baptist Church has celebrated the historic moment with a parade for the past nine years.

"For us to make an impact and share the information about liberation and how our culture is now free and able to make an impact on our community and to celebrate some good things, some positive things, I think is wonderful," said Harrison.

The Afro-American flag, also called the Pan-African flag, was proudly waved from a line of car that paraded down West Madison Street, a point of pride for parade organizer Kimber Turner.

"Juneteenth is all about us celebrating our independence," said Turner. "Black people have a long history of struggle, but we have come a very long way and we're very happy to celebrate the progress we've made."

Faheem Majeed of the DuSable Heritage Association rode in the parade dressed as Jean Baptiste Point du Sable as a nod to Chicago history and culture.

"I just think it's good, especially in the areas that we're in, for the people to come together to congregate, to think about positive change," said Majeed.

That includes some of the youngest parade-goers like Caleb Flemmings.

"It's about celebrating Black Lives Matter," said Flemmings. "I'm excited to be here with my pastor, my friends, family, my family of the church."