KANKAKEE, IL – The 14th Annual Juneteenth Celebration is set to take place in Kankakee, offering a much-needed celebration of life and an opportunity to rebuild community morale.
The week-long event, taking place from June 12th to June 19th, aims to educate the community on the importance of knowing their history while fostering a sense of unity and empowerment.
The Juneteenth Celebration Community Council has planned a series of events throughout the year, with the main event happening during the designated week. One of the highlights includes a scholarship workshop where participants will have the chance to receive awards.
The celebration kicks off on June 12th with a Lunch & Learn event at the Kankakee Public Library from noon to 3pm. Participants can engage in discussions on mental health, financial literacy, and black history. This informative session sets the tone for the upcoming events.
On June 13th, at 5 p.m., the Oratory Contest will be held at the Genesis Community Ministries. This contest encourages students from 2nd to 12th grade to enhance their public speaking skills while emphasizing the importance of reading, knowledge acquisition, and self-worth.
The Juneteenth Awards Banquet on June 16th, held at the Quality Inn in Bradley at 5 p.m., will honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the community behind the scenes for more than five years. The banquet features a guest speaker, Jahana Holloway, who will elaborate on Juneteenth and its mission. Attendees can participate in a silent auction, win door/raffle prizes, enjoy live music, and savor a delicious dinner.
On June 17th, the Youth Palooza takes place at KHS from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., offering a day of empowerment and entertainment for the youth. Activities include laser tag, a DJ, a 360 photo booth, bounce houses, relay games, a hip-hop detox, food trucks, and a surprise speaker. The event also features a special raffle sponsored by Lil Durk and his Neighborhood Heroes.
The Juneteenth Freedom Festival on June 17th at Pioneer Park promises a day filled with excitement and celebration. From 10 a.m. until dusk, the festival will feature a parade, games, a car show, and a DJ, providing entertainment for all ages. The day concludes with a spectacular fireworks show at 8pm.
Finally, on Monday, June 19th, a Symposium at the Kankakee Community College will commemorate the 403rd Anniversary of the landing of The White Lion Ship, which brought the first Africans to the American shores in 1619. The Symposium will begin at 9:00 a.m. and continue until 12:00 noon, offering a thought-provoking exploration of history and its significance.
This year’s Juneteenth Celebration in Kankakee is set to create a lasting impact by fostering community unity, promoting knowledge and education, and honoring those who have tirelessly worked to uplift the community.
**A Flag Day Celebration is scheduled for June 14th at noon at Martin Luther King Jr Park. More information is expected to be released soon.