CHICAGO (CBS) — We’re edging closer to a huge celebration across the country this Saturday: Juneteenth. Some call it “America’s Second Independence Day,” marking the end of slavery.
Not familiar with Juneteenth? CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory takes us inside a festival hoping to make Juneteenth a household name, and a can’t-miss event in the south suburbs.READ MORE: Nine More States Added To Chicago Travel Advisory
Food, music, and fun activities will fill the Homewood-Flossmoor High School parking lot this Saturday, and so will educational banners and art exhibits. It’s a celebration of Juneteenth, the official freeing of slaves, but the event is also meant to teach the community about lives taken by racial injustice.
“I lost my father to police brutality when I was 5,” said Destiny Watson.
She is the driving force behind the Homewood-Flossmoor Juneteenth Festival.
“He’s not a name that was a hashtag, or like social media wasn’t really big back then,” Watson said. “This is kind of like my personal way to memorialize him.”
Watson is the founder of “You Matter 2,” a non-profit focused on community service projects for youth.
Planning the festival began almost a year ago, and was inspired by community protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“To see the numbers that came out, especially during a pandemic, and the ages, the races. Everyone that was there, it was just – like people are recognizing what’s happening,” said Watson.
The event is a chance for performer Sakyra Morris to sing at her alma mater again.READ MORE: Police Say Tristan Whigham, 1-Year-Old Reported Missing, Is Safe With Family At A Shelter
“As a Black student from this school, we didn’t have much that represented who we were as students, as artists, as creatives and everything like that. So this festival is super important. So I really had to be here,” said Morris, who graduated in 2016, and now performs all over the Chicago area under the name S-O-S.
Interest in the festival is growing fast.
Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson says the village is ready with fire and EMS support.
About 1,800 people are registered to attend so far.
“We were crossing our fingers, and holding our breath that we’d be moving into Phase 5 in time for this event, and as luck would have it, we did,” said Nelson.
Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday signed legislation making Juneteenth an official state holiday.
It’s perfect timing and a perfect excuse to leave the house. The party in Flossmoor is free.
The Homewood- Flossmoor Juneteenth Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, at 999 Kedzie Avenue in Flossmoor. Registration isn’t required but is encouraged.Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming?