In celebration of Juneteenth, we invite you to participate in “Ribbons in the Sky,” an interactive public art project at Circle and Harrison. June 12th thru June 20th. Read the accountability pledge from Forest Park Against Racism, take a ribbon and sign your name, and then tie your ribbon to the fence as a sign of your commitment to anti-racism. Find anti-racism resources at fppl.org/juneteenth.
June 19th, 1865 (Juneteenth) is when enslaved African Americans of Galveston, Texas learned they were free - the news erupted into a history-making celebration known as “Juneteenth.” The formerly enslaved African Americans rejoiced and declared that day “Freedom Day,” “Emancipation Day,” or Juneteenth (“June” plus “nineteenth”). It had been nearly 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation that enslaved Texans learned that they were in fact free. That hopeful day in June marked the end of slavery and the beginning of freedom.
Juneteenth celebrates and commemorates black culture and reinforces black history as American history. Juneteenth creates space for education, advocacy, and healing. Celebrating Juneteenth provides a unifying platform for all Americans to celebrate our common bond of freedom.
In 2008, along with a group of community residents, then Commissioner, Mayor Rory Hoskins founded the Annual Forest Park Juneteenth Pool Party. Since then, the annual event has energized other surrounding communities to host their own celebrations in honor of Juneteenth’s historical significance.
In celebration of Juneteenth, we invite you to participate in “Ribbons in the Sky,” an interactive public art project at the top of Circle Avenue Bridge across from the CTA station exit from June 12-20. Read the accountability pledge below from Forest Park Against Racism, take a ribbon, and sign your name. Then, tie your ribbon to the bridge as a sign of your commitment to anti-racism. Check out the Library’s Anti-Racism Resource Guide for more information.
You can pick up a ribbon on the bridge beginning June 12, or stop by the Library to pick one up.
I understand that systems and power structures in our society are designed to favor those with more privilege over those with none.
Therefore, I pledge to work towards eliminating the injustices, inequities, and misconceptions that come from the systemic racism rooted in our society.
I personally will work towards positive and transformational change through the following:
Education: learning about racism in our nation’s history, how it is ingrained in our institutions and society at large, and how it has led to injustice.
Active listening: spending time with, connecting, and listening to directly impacted people from communities who have been marginalized and criminalized by systemic racism.
Stepping up and speaking out when encountering racist remarks.
Acknowledging that I have privilege and power that can be used towards building a more just and equitable community where we can all hold each other accountable.
In signing this pledge, I commit through my intentional actions to work towards dismantling systemic racism in my community, in justice for all.
Entiendo que los sistemas y estructuras de poder en nuestra sociedad están diseñados para favorecer a quienes tienen más privilegios que a quienes no los tienen.
Por lo tanto, me comprometo a trabajar para eliminar las injusticias, las desigualdades y los conceptos erróneos que provienen del racismo sistémico arraigado en nuestra sociedad.
Personalmente trabajaré hacia un cambio positivo y transformador a través de lo siguiente:
Educación: hacer todo lo posible para aprender sobre el racismo en la historia de nuestra nación, cómo está arraigado en nuestras instituciones y la sociedad en general, y cómo este mismo conduce hacia la injusticia.
Escuchar activamente: escuchar a las personas directamente afectadas de las comunidades que han sido marginadas y criminalizadas por el racismo sistémico.
Dar un paso al frente y hablar firmemente cuando escuche comentarios racistas por parte de otros.
Reconociendo que tengo privilegios y poder que pueden usarse para construir una comunidad más justa y equitativa donde todos podemos responsabilizarnos mutuamente.
Al firmar este compromiso, me comprometo a través de mis acciones e intenciones al trabajo para desmantelar el racismo sistémico en mi comunidad, con un enfoque de justicia para todos.
Read more about Juneteenth in Forest Park at the Forest Park Review
“Quilting a Beloved Community” began on February 21, 2021 as part of the Black History Month programming created by the Historical Society of Forest Park, Forest Park Against Racism, the Forest Park Public Library, and What is Juneteenth? This event was created by Dr. Melissa Blount, an Evanston-based psychologist, artist, and activist, and led by Rachel Wallis. Prior to the program each participant picked up a kit from the Forest Park Public Library with all the supplies they would need to create a quilt square. Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, began the event by sharing the inspiration she had received from quilts given to her by different communities through the years. Rachel Wallis led the group through the history of quilts in Black communities and then provided a lesson in basic embroidery technique.
After our virtual sewing circled logged off, each participant continued to work on their quilt block independently, creating 25 unique pieces. A community quilt is special because of all the different artist interpretations, color choices, and skill levels. Each block represents a unique person, and together they create a quilt in the same way that the individuals of Forest Park create a community.
The blocks were returned to the Library and sewn together to create the quilt top you see here today on Juneteenth, 2021. Next the quilt will be layered with cotton batting and backed with fabric from Afrique Clothing Store. This fabric is composed of feathers of different colors and sizes, representing the diversity of our community. All three layers will be quilted together and the binding will be added to finish the quilt.
This quilt will be displayed throughout our community every Black History Month. The Historical Society of Forest Park, Forest Park Against Racism, the Forest Park Public Library, and What is Juneteenth? hope to lead the community in creating a new quilt each Juneteenth, and to display it alongside the previous years’ quilts. We hope that next year you will join us.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument or joined us virtually on May Day. We were so excited to be able to host a safe in-person event this year as well as virtual events. May Day has an audience extending throughout the U.S. and beyond, so virtual events give us a unique opportunity for broader participation. It was amazing to be out in the sunshine with so many people at the monument.
Congratulations to the "May Day Marauders" on winning May Day Virtual Trivia! Thank you to everyone who joined us. We had so much fun. Thank you to our MC Amy Binns-Calvey as well as Meghan Courtney and Gavin Strassel from the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affair at Wayne State University who helped run the game.
Mark Rogovin was the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument’s biggest fan. He wrote The Day Will Come, the booklet telling the story of those buried on Radical Row, and he worked on multiple projects to restore the monument for all visitors to enjoy.
The Historical Society of Forest Park is honoring individuals who continue to further the work of labor history with the Mark Rogovin Working Class Heroes Award. The first to receive this honor is the always-dedicated Amy Binns-Calvey.
Mark started our 1st-Saturday-of-the-month tours, delighting groups with his vast knowledge. In 2016 he passed the torch to Amy, who has enthusiastically met visitors from all over the world to share with them the story of the Haymarket Affair, the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument, and the radicals buried near it. In 2020 she led a virtual tour of the Martyrs’ Monument and Radical Row as well as Forest Home Cemetery. Congratulations Amy!
Photograph by Betty Alzamora
The Historical Society of Forest Park (HSFP) is very honored to have the opportunity to work with Forest Park Against Racism, Midwest Juneteenth Collective, and the Forest Park Public Library on our first annual “Forest Park Celebrates Black History Month Sunday Series.” We are so proud to have been able to offer five unique programs. HSFP looks forward to February 2022, when we can host in-person programming to expand on these topics and activities.
Black History Month is a great way to recognize and celebrate Black History. But, as we know, Black History happens year-round. We have added the first portion of an online exhibit to our website dedicated to the Black history of Forest Park. We welcome input from the community on people and topics to add to this section.
We hope to see everyone at Juneteenth in whatever form Forest Park celebrates this year.