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Juneteenth is often considered the longest-running African American holiday. It has also been called America's second Independence Day. Juneteenth falls on June 19 and is usually observed on the third Saturday in June. The holiday's name is a blending of the words "June" and "Nineteenth" as it was on June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger ordered the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, Texas after the end of the American Civil War had ended.

This year marks 30 years since the first Juneteenth celebration in Springfield, IL. To commemorate, community organizers set up a week-long celebration starting June 12 with a Juneteenth Talent Show and ending with The Annual Juneteenth Youth Breakfast June 19 at Lincoln Land Community College Trutter Center. The event, meant to highlight and celebrate youth entrepreneurs in the Springfield area, showcased many of the city's most talented young performers in honor of Juneteenth. Elected officials Illinois Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski and Springfield Ward 2 Alderman Shawn Gregory spoke about the significance of Juneteenth and what it means to the people of Illinois.

Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service Volunteer Programs Coordinator for the Downstate Region Anthony Wanless attended to present Office of The Governor of Illinois Certificates of Appreciation to several of this year's outstanding volunteers. Chosen by Juneteenth, Inc. Founders Shymeka Gregory and Cherena Douglas for their dedication to their community and hard work throughout the year, award recipients were as follows:

Mike Williams-Community Volunteer

Mike Phelon-Community Volunteer

Faraji Martin-Community Volunteer

Ikeena Martin-Community Volunteer

Judaea Hopson-Juneteenth. Volunteer

Seth Gregory Sr.-Juneteenth Volunteer,

and Candace Silas-Community Volunteer

Juneteenth, Inc. was founded in 2020 by Shymeka Kerr-Gregory and Cherena Douglass to continue the Juneteenth Celebration in Springfield by expanding its efforts to eliminate racism through the education and celebration of Juneteenth. To assist with their cause, Juneteenth Inc. calls on the support of community and civic leaders to help recognize the past, realize our future, and reimagine the present.

On behalf of the IDHS- Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, thank you all for your dedication to service and hard work throughout the year to make this year's Juneteenth Celebration events in Springfield a huge success!