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WASHINGTON PARK — There were events across the city and online to celebrate Juneteenth on Friday. In Washington Park, dozens gathered to cook, give out food to those in need and bring Black Chicagoans together for a moment of joy.
The event, organized by Haute Society, kicked off its first annual Mobile Parade, where cars decorated with flags and posters traveled south on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive following discussions on the significance of Juneteenth and spoken word poetry performed by local artists and organizers. During the caravan, Chicagoan Adam Hollingsworth – belovedly known as the DreadheadCowBoy – was seen riding his horse.
Event organizers said, “the current climate in Chicago has left many residents with emotional and financial stress,” and the gathering’s goal was to bridge this gap.
Food was shared throughout the event, as those present enjoyed lunches with inspiring words scrawled across the brown-paper bags, as well as nachos, snow cones and a big cookout.
At one moment during the barbecue, Ashley Smith of Haute Society excitedly said the gathering was beyond everything she dreamed about. In the presence of friends and family, the group of Chicagoans gathered at Washington Park ate, talked and danced as the sun lowered over the lawn.
The remainder of the food was distributed to those in need following the event.
Though yet to be recognized as a holiday locally and nationwide, Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the day in 1865 when troops arrived in Texas to free enslaved Americans — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.