First UMC honors Juneteenth with celebration

By Dee Longfellow

On Sunday, June 23, the lawn of the First United Methodist Church at 232 S. York was buzzing and humming with music and activity as people shared the annual Juneteenth Commemorative Celebration.

Officially known as Juneteenth National Independence Day, Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the U.S., typically celebrated annually on June 19 to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States.

The Northern Illinois Conference (NIC), which includes First UMC of Elmhurst among its members, has established an anti-racism task force. The Elmhurst church formed its own initiative called the Anti-racism Awareness and Learning Path team (AALP).

Lisa Rogers served as coordinator of the event.

“Our church’s anti-racism team came out of the work of the NIC anti-racism task force,” she said. “[The AALP has] done many events to raise awareness about the issue of systemic racism and its extremely negative consequences.”

The day included live music, kids’ activities, voter registration, vendors and advocacy organizations.