Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Community awards, advocacy headline Evanston’s fifth annual Juneteenth parade

Lucas Kim/The Daily Northwestern
The parade commenced at 11 a.m. Saturday on the intersection of Lee Street and Dodge Avenue.

Filling Evanston’s streets with music, laughter and festivities, the city’s fifth annual Juneteenth parade drew hundreds of spectators and participants to honor the national holiday Saturday.

Juneteenth, observed on June 19, memorializes the emancipation of enslaved Black people and the final implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas, which occurred on that date in 1865 — over two years after the issuance of Abraham Lincoln’s original executive order.

The parade started promptly at 11 a.m. at the Robert Crown Community Center with participating organizations and individuals processing north toward Ingraham Park, where celebrations continued until 4 p.m.

Featured groups included the Evanston Township High School Wildkit Marching Band, Jesse White Tumblers and South Shore Drill Team. Other local community organizations and centers made up the many floats, vehicles and walking groups participating in the march. 

Ald. Krissie Harris (2nd), a fifth-generation Evanston resident, served as the parade’s grand marshal after joining City Council two years ago.

“This just exudes what Juneteenth is about,” Harris said. “And that’s about community, that’s about coming together, that’s about learning and loving on one another.” 

Kemone Hendricks, the parade’s founder and owner of Evanston Present and Future, organized the first event in 2020, amassing over 7,000 virtual attendees.

This year, Hendricks established and handed out awards to community members whom she said had enormous impacts on the city’s Juneteenth celebrations and advocacy efforts.

“This year, for me, it was all about making sure that I celebrated and acknowledged the people who helped the Juneteenth parade and Juneteenth as a whole throughout these years in the city of Evanston,” Hendricks said.

The Juneteenth Legacy Award, one of this year’s new honors, was posthumously awarded to Hecky Powell, the longtime owner of Hecky’s Barbecue.

Powell, who passed away in 2020, generously dedicated his time and efforts to not only feeding the masses, but also helping advocate for Evanston’s disadvantaged, according to Hendricks.

“If he was still here, he would be amazed at how big Juneteenth became,” Powell’s son, Hecky Powell Jr. said. “Juneteenth, a federal holiday. I don’t think he would’ve thought that would have happened.”

Other awardees included Tim Rhoze for the Unity Champion Award, Julia Ferguson for the Freedom Trailblazer Award and the Shorefront Legacy Center for the Heritage Preservation Award.

In addition to the honors, the subsequent celebration included food from Black-owned restaurants such as Hecky’s Barbecue and Claire’s Korner, as well as various vendors and representatives from local organizations.

ETHS History Department Chair and Shorefront Legacy Center Board President Nicole Parker also attended the celebrations and recognized the historical importance of the Juneteenth celebrations.

“History is one of my passions,” said Parker. “It’s really important for us in 2024 to acknowledge history and to keep history safe for the future generations.” 

Email: [email protected]

X: @lucaskim_15

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