Juneteenth celebration returns to Calumet Park

Published 10:00 am Friday, June 7, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A Juneteenth event will take place at Calumet Park on Union Street, June 15 from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. ET. The family event is free admission. 

This year’s theme is “It’s a family affair.” Lashieka Ferrell, the organizer, explained, “We want to bring the family back and build them up, and let them know where they came from so they can know where they’re going.” 

The Juneteenth event was started by Diane Cofield. This will be the fourth year the celebration has taken place. Ferrell said the event continues to grow each year.

To embrace the theme, the day will include activities and games for kids, bingo, and competitions. Ferrell said trophies will be given out to the families with the best-decorated tent, best t-shirt, and to the largest family present. Vendors selling food and community organizations will also have tents set up. 

“Also this year, we will be honoring Dr. Willie T. Edmondson,” Ferrell said. 

The event will highlight some nonprofits and community resources, like the Enlightenment Center for African American History (ECAAH), an educational center that is in the works. Ferrell said a feature of the center will be a room dedicated to the late Reverend and LaGrange Mayor, Edmondson.

“We’re gonna also show [the families] the opportunities they have, I have several nonprofits coming,” Ferrell said. “We also have community activists coming to talk to the kids and let them know, ‘We are so much more than what is being portrayed or what they are portraying.’”

Juneteenth goes back to June 19, 1865, celebrating the day the last enslaved people were freed in Galveston, Texas – more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. While the African American community has long celebrated the holiday, it wasn’t recognized as a federal holiday until 2021.

“[Juneteenth] is a very important holiday in the African American community not only because the last of the slaves were free…But Juneteenth also touches on our heritage,” Ferrell said. “We want to understand what our ancestors went through. If you can understand where you came from then you can understand where you’re going.” 

“We want everyone to come out. Everyone in the whole entire Lagrange…Learn about the [ECAAH] and just bring your family and just have a good time,” Ferrell said.