10th annual Chicago Juneteenth Parade held in Garfield Park

Karen Jordan Image
Sunday, June 16, 2024
10th annual Chicago Juneteenth Parade held in Garfield Park
The 10th annual Chicago Juneteenth Parade was held Saturday in Garfield Park, which commemorates when the last enslaved people were freed in 1865.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's Juneteenth parade stepped off Sunday from Saint Joseph Missionary Baptist Church in East Garfield Park.

It's one of several celebrations taking place in the coming days, honoring the events of June 19th, 1865, when the last enslaved people were freed in Texas two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

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Long before Juneteenth was as widely known as it is today, the occasion was celebrated in Garfield Park.

Adrienne Hawkins-Turner organized the first parade 10 years ago to shed a positive light on her community.

"The idea was to bring some joy and celebration into the West Side, and it's really important for the residents and especially the children," Hawkins-Turner said.

SEE ALSO | ABC7 celebrates Juneteenth with 'Our Chicago: Food for the Soul' special hosted by Cheryl Burton

Organizers said turnout was small the first year of the parade, but each year it's grown with participants decorating cars and floats with balloons.

"It's amazing to see how many cars are here and certainly national recognition has helped a lot with this," Hawkins-Turner said. "It's an issue that's real and been around for a long time."

Kicking things off was a flag raising ceremony, where important history lessons were shared.

"July 4th was the day the land was set free. June 19th was the day the people were set free," Pastor Donald McFadden said.

SEE ALSO | Celebration of Black culture, business, advancement at Morgan Park's Juneteenth Festival

The parade proceeded down Madison Street., with some participants performing in it for the first time, such as Ace Martin, a dancer with the Westinghouse College Prep Goldettes.

Martin said she hopes the parade will inspire more people to learn about the holiday.

"My mom has a daycare, and so we talked about it with the kids, but it was never really recognized," Martin said.

Every year, the parade has the same theme, "conquering our past, commemorating our present and committing to our future."