Sand Ridge Nature Center to host Juneteenth celebration with guest Toni Preckwinkle and others

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Sand Ridge
Sand Ridge Nature Center is located at 15891 Paxton Avenue in South Holland. (Image from fpdcc.com)
Information provided by Sand Ridge Nature Center

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (June 11, 2021) – Sand Ridge Nature Center invites the public to celebrate family, freedom, and country during its eighth annual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 19.

“Juneteenth — also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, or Juneteenth Independence Day — commemorates the abolition of slavery in the United States,” said Sand Ridge Nature Center Director Stephen DeFalco. “We honor the day here at Sand Ridge to celebrate and enjoy the diversity of our shared cultural heritage here in Cook County.”

Juneteenth history

While the intent of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, was to free enslaved people, some remained in bondage in Texas for another two years. On June 18, 1865, General Gordon Grainger marched Union troops into Galveston, Texas. On the following day, he read General Order Number 3, enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation for all. The following year, on June 19, Juneteenth was celebrated as the rightful end to slavery in the United States, a tradition that continues today.

Juneteenth at Sand Ridge

During this historical Juneteenth Celebration and Underground Railroad program, attendees can enjoy a variety of activities at both Sand Ridge Nature Center and Camp Shabbona Woods. Drop-in nature center programs do not require registration, and include self-guided walks, artmaking projects, exhibit-style displays, games and bird walks. Registration-based programs at Camp Shabbona Woods include storytelling, history-based presentations, and an interactive dance program.

The celebration will begin with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m., led by remarks from Cook County Board and Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle, Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall, and other local elected officials. The opening ceremony will conclude with the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and a preview of the day.

“We hope that attendees take away a new or enhanced appreciation of this era in our history, a history that was punctuated by fortitude, resilience, bravery, and a commonality of spirit,” said DeFalco.

The Juneteenth Celebration is free to attend. Drop-in programs run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and registration-based programs run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To view a full schedule of programs during the event, visit https://fpdcc.com/event/juneteenth-celebration-2. For more information on the Juneteenth Celebration or to register for specific programs, call the nature center directly at 708-868-0606, email [email protected], or visit the nature center in person.

Sand Ridge Nature Center is located at 15891 Paxton Avenue in South Holland. The center is one of six nature centers operated by the Forest Preserves of Cook County, and offers a variety of educational programs and special events throughout the year. Camp Shabbona Woods, located at 15810 S Torrence Ave. in South Holland and connected to the nature center, is one of the Forest Preserves’ five campgrounds.

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