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On Friday, June 17th, Phalanx Family Services hosted its 2nd Annual Juneteenth: Freedom Day Celebration, a free community event commemorating the day, on June 19, 1865, when the news of slavery’s end reached enslaved Africans in Texas and other Southwest states two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The celebration originated in Galveston, Texas in 1866, and has been celebrated annually on June 19 throughout the United States as an official federal holiday since 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.
Thanks to the capable consulting services of Ed Okennard, who coordinated the entire event, our Juneteenth Celebration was a great success! We had several spectacular food, game, ride, and entertainment vendors including the Jesse White Tumblers. All these features were presented free to the public.
We also offered free haircuts, COVID vaccinations, a CityKey ID event, and a bevy of exhibitors & vendors including the Chicago Department of Public Health. We also had staff on hand exhibiting and sharing programs, resources, and services available here at Phalanx Family Services. The weather-wise picture-perfect day was enjoyed by hundreds of attendees in the parking lot and side street adjacent to our facilities.
In addition to all these attractions, our youth participants contributed tremendously to the success of that day. Youth in our Creative Juice Beat Making program presented an original rap performance. Participants in our Youth Ambassadors program made a community Peace Pledge and urged the youth in the crowd to take up the vow. And our new community garden, literally built from the ground up by participants in our Youth Horticulture program was dedicated in honor of the late Gladstone Sanders, co-founder of Phalanx Family Services.
We are proud of this year’s event and look forward to hosting many, many more!
Written by Ramone Giles
Image Courtesy of Omari Jahi