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Juneteenth Returns to Macomb; WIU's GBCC Co-Sponsors Community Event

June 13, 2019

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From McDonough County NAACP

MACOMB, IL – Juneteenth Celebration will return to Macomb Saturday, June 15, says NAACP McDonough County Branch President Byron Oden-Shabazz.

"The city has been without Juneteenth for far too long," Oden-Shabazz said. "When we reactivated the NAACP Branch in the county, one of our first initiatives was to revive Juneteenth in Macomb. Juneteenth is historically significant to the black experience in this nation and American history. Celebrating and acknowledging this holiday is equally as important as recognizing July Fourth."

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States. It also marks the emancipation of African American slaves throughout the Confederate South. On June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers arrived at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were now free.

"We are very much looking forward to the return of this outstanding event," said Macomb Mayor Mike Inman. "And we thank the planners for bringing it back to the community."

The first Juneteenth celebration in Macomb began in 2002 with the help of Oden-Shabazz, Belinda Carr, Earl Bracey and Tammie Leigh Brown-Edwards. This free and open to the public event with provide food, entertainment, community and social services, school supply collection drive, new and gently used shoe collection drive, a youth talent show, resume assistance, McDonough County Health Department's safe disposal/recycling program for dry cell batteries and CFL light bulbs, and a professional clothing giveaway.

Vice President of Democratic Women of McDonough County Jessica LaFountain said, "The reality is professional clothes are a necessity for economic mobility. Resale and consignment shops in our community are not affordable or accessible for those working long hours or at low wages. I'm excited to be a part of any effort to give to people that have a need; to support others in their careers; and to care for our environment by reducing landfill contributions."

Sponsorship has been provided by the AGE Rehab & Med Fitness, American Red Cross, Pare Lee Brown and Family, Tammie Leigh Brown-Edwards for City of Macomb Alderman, Burton Law Office, City of Macomb, Dad's Garage, Democratic Women of McDonough County, Stirling Edwards for Macomb Park District, Hy-vee, Illustrator Mimi Bennet, Mike Inman for Mayor of Macomb, Jerk Shop Go, Lil' Stitches, Macomb Fire Department, Macomb Police Department, McDonough County Health Department, McDonough County Sheriff Department, Nick Petitgout for McDonough County Sheriff, Refreshment Services Pepsi of Macomb, Rialto Cinemas, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Alan Thompson State Farm Insurance, Walmart, WIRC-CAA, WIU Fraternal Order of Police, WIU Career Services, WIU's Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center, YMCA of McDonough County, Your CBD Store and others.

The event will be held from 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday in The Macomb Art Center, at 25 E. Side Square, and Jerk Shop GO, at 135 N. Randolph St. in Macomb. Children can sign up to perform at the talent show on the day of the event. Donations for school supplies, children's shoes and professional clothing can be brought to the event as well. Recycle receptacles will be available for battery and CFL light bulb disposal at Jerk Shop Go, 135 N. Randolph St. in Macomb.

For information, call NAACP President Byron Oden-Shabazz at 309/255-3469.

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