People celebrating Juneteenth
Jun 17, 2021 - Fry Family YMCA

3 ways to celebrate Juneteenth with the YMCA of Metro Chicago

This Saturday is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally observed celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. As an organization rooted in families’ and communities’ collective wellbeing, we at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago recognize Juneteenth’s significance in Black liberation and American history.

Here are three ways to celebrate Juneteenth with your family and Y community:

  1. Bring your own grill, food, and (nonalcoholic) drinks, and head on over to the South Side YMCA’s Annual Juneteenth Community BBQ! This Saturday, June 19, from 12-4pm, community members will be able to enjoy a fun-filled cookout as local DJ Twelve Gage spins tunes to set the soundtrack for a sunny afternoon. In addition to savoring good eats and rich conversation, attendees can also take a tour of the South Side Y and check out everything the center has to offer. Local organizations Social Change (Chicago), Chicago Culture Gear, and Uncle Bert’s Produce will also be joining in the fun of this hallmark Juneteenth event.
  2. Celebrate Juneteenth in style by purchasing Chicago Culture Gear’s Juneteenth t-shirt. In addition to having a table set up at the South Side Y’s Annual Juneteenth Community BBQ, Chicago Culture Gear, a Black woman-owned business, will continue to sell their Juneteenth t-shirts online. Ten percent of proceeds from this design will directly support the South Side Y, ensuring that families in the Woodlawn, Hyde Park, Jackson Park, and South Shore neighborhoods can continue to enjoy the full breadth of the Y’s programming.
  3. In addition to being a time for jubilation and community-building, Juneteenth serves as a reminder of the work we must continue to do to build a more equitable world. For an enriching way to educate your loved ones, especially youth, about Juneteenth, we recommend this flag designing activity created by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Whether you choose to celebrate at home or with your Y family, we hope you enjoy a safe, joyous, and meaningful Juneteenth weekend!