June 1, 2023 – The entire community is invited to join in Oak Park’s celebration of Juneteenth, an occasion considered by many as the true anniversary of emancipation in the United States.
The Village’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is sponsoring a Juneteenth Youth Arts Contest this year. Open to anyone age 18 and younger who live or attend school in Oak Park, Artists are invited to create a work of art that embodies Juneteenth and why it is important. All forms of art are welcome, including hip-hop/rap, spoken word, paintings, etc. Winners in elementary, middle and high school age groups will receive a cash prize.
To submit an entry or to learn more, visit www.oak-park.us/juneteenth. The deadline to submit is Monday, June 12.
The in-person festivities begin with a flag-raising ceremony on Wednesday, June 14 and continue with a parade and community cookout on Sunday, June 18.
The flag-raising ceremony will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14 in the courtyard at Village Hall, 123 Madison St. and will feature speakers, food and more.
The celebration continues with a parade and community cookout on Sunday, June 18.
The parade steps off at 11 a.m. from Longfellow Park near Jackson Boulevard and will march on Ridgeland Avenue to Augusta Street, with a community cookout to follow until 5 p.m. at Taylor Park, 400 Division St.
Community groups and organizations are invited to participate in the parade, which is being organized by members of the community. Click here to register to participate in the parade.
The community cookout is sponsored by the Village and will feature food (barbecued meat, vegan options, dessert), drinks, a DJ, live entertainment, games and more. Ahimsa Yoga Studio will be providing free yoga classes in the park at 2 p.m., and winners of the Juneteenth Youth Arts Contest will also be announced.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when a U.S. Army general read orders in Galveston, Texas that all previously enslaved people were free.
Juneteenth has long been recognized as an important day among many Oak Parkers, and the Village Board made it official in 2020 when it voted unanimously to support a proclamation to formally observe the holiday every June 19.
Juneteenth has since been recognized as both a state and federal holiday.
For more information about Oak Park’s Juneteenth celebration, visit www.oak-park.us/juneteenth or contact DEI@oak-park.us or 708.358.5405.