Sand Ridge Nature Center to host ninth annual ‘Juneteenth Celebration’

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

Annual event to include history displays, interactive hikes

Information provided by the Sand Ridge Nature Center

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (June 14, 2022) – The Sand Ridge Nature Center has invited the public to celebrate family, freedom, and country during the ninth annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 18.

“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.”

Celebrating at Sand Ridge Nature Center

During the event, attendees can enjoy a variety of activities at Sand Ridge Campus. Drop-in programs at the nature center include self-guided walks, art-making projects, exhibit-style displays, and games. By registering beforehand, attendees may also participate in the Self-Love Bootcamp: The Art of Positive Thinking program, running from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Beginning at 11 a.m. at Camp Shabbona Woods, attendees can enjoy a cultural dance and drum performance.

The event will begin with an opening ceremony at 10:15 a.m., led by remarks from Cook County Board and Forest Preserves President Toni Preckwinkle; Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall, Commissioner Stanley Moore, Commissioner Donna Miller, and other elected officials. The opening ceremony will conclude with the singing of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ and a preview of the day.

Brief history

While the intent of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 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, TX. On the following day, he read General Order No. 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.

“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,” DeFalco said.

The Juneteenth Celebration is free to attend, and runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on the Juneteenth Celebration, call the nature center directly at 708-868-0606, email [email protected] or visit the nature center in person. To register for the Self-Love Bootcamp program, email [email protected].

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