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Juneteenth events just the beginning, mayor says
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Juneteenth events just the beginning, mayor says

Swearing in of Thaddeus Jones as the first black mayor of Calumet City

Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones gives an address at the end of his swearing-in ceremony last month.

As events around Chicago's Southeast Side and south suburbs mark Juneteenth this weekend, Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones says the discussion about slavery and racism must continue.

Juneteenth — which has been declared both a state of Illinois and federal holiday this week — marks the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued almost three years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln.

Jones plans to take part in two Juneteenth events on Saturday, one at Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 Paxton Ave., South Holland, and another at Schrum Memorial Middle School, 485 165th St., Calumet City.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore also are among the elected officials who will appear at the Sand Ridge Juneteenth Celebration, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. That event also includes programming at nearby Camp Shabbona Woods.

On the schedule are: Storytelling with Kucha and Baba Tony, from 10:30-11:30 a.m.; Migration Stories, presented by Faith in Place, focusing in the migration of monarch butterflies, from noon-1 p.m.; Faces of the Underground Railroad from the Little Calumet Underground Railroad Project, from 1:30-2:30 p.m.; Dances of West Africa, presented by NAJWA Dance Corps, from 3-4 p.m.; and Black Chicagoans: 1850-1900 and Our Impact on the Civil War and Beyond, presented by local historian Shermann "Dilla" Thomas, from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

The Schrum event runs from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and will include food giveaways, kids' activities and music.

Jones said there also will be discussions about the background of Juneteenth — talks that must continue about racism and slavery, including Illinois' slave codes. 

"The fight is not over," Jones said. "We're looking at some of the victories and some of the challenges ahead. ... (Juneteenth is) a defining moment (and) a reflection of how we got here. ...

"The work is not done. Calumet City is prepared to do the work and lead the way in discussing racism."

Moore also will take part in another Juneteenth event at St. Francis de Sales High School, 10155 S. Ewing Ave., Chicago. That celebration runs from noon-5 p.m. and will include a food drive and giveaways.

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