The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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Oak Park ready to celebrate Juneteenth

May 28, 2024A flag-raising ceremony and community cookout will anchor the Village’s celebration of Juneteenth, an occasion considered by many as the true anniversary of emancipation in the United States.

The entire community is invited to participate in the events coordinated by the Juneteenth Committee of community leaders and sponsored by the Village’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which are taking place as part of this year’s theme “Remembering OUR History and Claiming OUR Future.” The committee is co-chaired by Village Clerk Christina M. Waters and Chris Thomas, Founder and CEO of YourPassion1st.

The flag-raising ceremony is set for 6 to 8 p.m. on Wed., June 12 in the courtyard at Village Hall, 123 Madison St. The free event will feature speakers, refreshments and more.

The community cookout is planned for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., June 15 on the south lawn at Village Hall. The family-friendly event will feature music, food, activities for kids, resource tables and a vendor market featuring local Black-owned businesses.

Local businesses and/or service providers are invited to register to host a booth/table during the community cookout. Volunteers are also needed to help make the events a success.  Find more information and sign up to participate at

Additional Juneteenth activities are being planned in and around Oak Park.

A Juneteenth oratory competition will culminate when the winners are presented as featured speakers at a celebratory event on Sun., June 9 at 5 p.m. at the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association. Click here for more information about the competition, which was organized by Asé Production through partnership with the Suburban Unity Alliance and Race Conscious Dialogues and the support of the Nova Collective and the Village.

“We are excited to continue Oak Park’s tradition of lifting up Juneteenth and recognizing its importance for African Americans and its significance in American history,” said Dr. Danielle Walker, the Village’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. “As the Village’s commemoration continues to evolve, we are grateful to have a number of community partnerships that help make Oak Park’s celebration special.”

“I’m so thankful to celebrate Juneteenth in the Oak Park community, which is not only a place to live, but also a place to seek shelter, refuge and acceptance,” said Thomas. “It is the duty of the Oak Park community to break down systems of oppression and hate to achieve a society where race no longer determines one’s outcomes, where everyone has what they need to thrive. This is both a process and a goal.

“This is a time to celebrate our history and ancestors while embracing our future,” said Thomas. “We looking forward to seeing you.”

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 or contact or 708.358.5405.

About Oak Park

The Village of Oak Park, located just nine miles west of downtown Chicago, offers a distinctive urban/suburban lifestyle in a thriving, multi-cultural community. Well-known for progressive values, tree-lined streets and bustling business districts, Oak Park serves as an ideal place to live, work and play. As a longstanding community of choice, the Village benefits from convenient access to local and regional transit, high-quality public schools, and arts and cultural attractions, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio and his acclaimed Unity Temple, which was recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.