Naperville celebrates Juneteenth at Rotary Hill

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This Saturday was Naperville’s celebration of Juneteenth hosted by nonprofit organization Naperville Neighbors United.

The community came together at Rotary Hill to enjoy the music of Harmony & Soul and Divine Sound Gospel Choir by Mikel Mays and the Mays Music Centre of Excellence.

Importance of Juneteenth

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that enslaved people in Texas were freed. It was made a federal holiday in 2021.

The day is an opportunity for reflecting on the achievements of African Americans and to honor those who fought for freedom and equality.

Saturday’s celebration in Naperville included music, dancing, food, and speeches that highlight the significance of Juneteenth in American history.

Attending dignitaries

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood joined in the celebration as the keynote speaker.

“For decades, African-Americans experienced severe hardship and equity and loss, but not for lack of action,” said Underwood.  “The experiences of my own ancestors speak to many of the trials African-Americans have endured while working to actualize the promise of liberty, equality and justice. To make the promise of America a reality.”

Other dignitaries present at the event included:

  • Bill Foster – U.S. House Representative for Illinois’ 11th Congressional District
  • Laura Ellman – IL State Senator for District 21
  • Anne Stava-Murray, IL State House Representative for District 81
  • Dr. Geneace Williams – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager for the City of Naperville
  • Dr. Benny White – Naperville City Councilman and Founder of Naperville Neighbors United

This was the second annual Juneteenth observance for the city of Naperville.

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