Naperville celebrated Juneteenth at Rotary Hill

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On Saturday, June 15th, Naperville Neighbors United held their Juneteenth celebration on Rotary Hill in Naperville. Juneteenth commemorates the day news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation spread to Texas in 1865 and is celebrated on June 19th. In 2021, President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Naperville’s Juneteenth Celebration featured food trucks, motivational speakers, music, and more!

Crowds were entertained and inspired by many performances from musical groups such as the Mays Music Centre of Excellence, motivational spoken-word performers, and speeches from United States Representatives Lauren Underwood and Bill Foster. The overarching theme of freedom kept the audience engaged and educated on the history of Juneteenth, popularly celebrated in the South before spreading to other states after being recognized federally. 

Dr. Benny White, Naperville City Councilman and cofounder of Naperville Neighbors United stated, “It’s a holiday that really discusses not just African-American history, but American history, you know, so everyone is invited to this […] The crowd that comes down here, the residents who come down, we all get a chance to meet each other, and that’s what celebrations are all about.”

Naperville Neighbors United is a catalyst for positive change in the community 

Kim White and Naperville City Councilman Dr. Benny White founded Naperville Neighbors United (NNU) in 2020, after recognizing the need for outreach and education to match the diverse voices and cultures of the Naperville community. NNU aims to build an inclusive community and nurtures empathy through events such as its book club, community conversations, and Juneteenth Celebration. NNU partners with area organizations to extend the reach of their programming, and their volunteers are active community members looking to enact positive change. 


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