Naperville Neighbors United is planning an inaugural Juneteenth celebration. It marks the date in 1865 when slaves in Texas learned from a Union general they had been freed, marking the end of slavery in the United States. Last year, President Joe Biden declared it a national holiday.
What to Expect
The event, slated for June 19, will be held at Rotary Hill and may feature music, dancing and speakers.
“I want everyone to come out,” said Benny White, an organizer for the Juneteenth celebration and a Naperville City Councilman. “This isn’t something for Black folks. This is for our entire community. We all get better, learn and grow as a community.”
White said the Juneteenth celebration will serve as a chance to showcase some aspects of the community’s diversity. “At the end of the day while we do recognize there are differences—and we strive to celebrate our differences—we have so much more in common than that’s different,” he said.
Organizers behind the event have already started some initial planning, and committees are being formed.
Significance of the Event
White said it’s important for people of different backgrounds to take time to learn more about one another. “We all benefit from that,” White said. “It allows us to be a more inclusive community.”
He acknowledged that slavery is one of the nation’s biggest sins and how much work still needs to be done to heal as a nation and as a community. “This doesn’t just affect African Americans, it affects everyone,” he said. “We all should come together and recognize what had happened back then and that we’re celebrating it as an entire community and as an entire country the end of something that was so horrible.”
White hopes the event will serve as a celebration of how far the country has come, all while providing a chance to reflect on how horrible slavery was.
About the Group
Naperville Neighbors United is a group founded to help promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the community.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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