Juneteenth - Metro East

Our Annual Juneteenth- East St Louis Event in the Metro East Since 2012 Just got BIGGER! Welcome to

JUNETEENTH METRO EAST - Our Commitment to Moving Ever Forward

JUNE 19th, 1865 - Adapted over the years to "June-Teenth"


To educate and engage Illinois residents and leaders in the acknowledgement, celebration, and advocacy for “ALL THINGS JUNETEENTH.” Aligned with our National Juneteeth Observance Foundation, Juneteenth Independence Day will be recognized as THE National Holiday of Reconciliation and Healing on June 19 to complete the cycle of Freedom. July 4th and June 19


Specifically, WE, Juneteenth-Metro East, focus on the words of our 16th President Abraham Lincoln, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

National Juneteenth Day of Observance Petition

National Miss Juneteenth Scholarship Program

IL Miss Juneteenth Scholarship Program

Juneteenth 101 Curriculum

Annual Event, Education, and Advocacy Day for Metro East

Annual Motorcade

Annual Flag Raising Ceremony

Juneteenth Metro East Planning Meetings


Learn More About This Year's Festivities...

Check out Juneteenth Features and Performers Here

JuneteenthME 2021 The Juneteenth Celebration for Metro East St. Louis and Southern IL

What in The World is “JUNETEENTH?”

Juneteenth is an adaptive way of saying “June 19th.” On this day, our country committed to change by emancipating the last of the slaves. President Lincoln made his fateful “proclamation.” Away went General Granger in Galveston, TX to deliver the General Order #3 setting free the last slaves. This momentous day in America, traditionally celebrated with barbeque, strawberries, and family since 1865 is an African American Independence holiday.

Tracy Johnson, “Ras Tra” came to CDSS 15 years ago wanting support to throw his birthday celebration. During his annual bday bash, they would uplift Juneteenth. In 2012, Mr. Johnson, became CDSS' Cultural Arts Director and CDSS' President thought we should take a more serious stance around the historical significance of Juneteenth and felt East St Louis and surrounding communities need to wake up. 2015, our third year hosting Juneteenth as a citywide event, The City of East St. Louis recognized our efforts proclaiming Juneteenth an Official East St. Louis Holiday! In 2017, Mr Johnson moved his project to St. Louis and left for Las Vegas soon after for a new job! East St Louis, Cahokia, Centreville, Washington Park, and St. Clair Co have declared Juneteenth a holiday. St Clair Co was the first County in IL to make Juneteenth a paid holiday! We invite all neighboring communities to East St. Louis to bring about peace, diversity, and understanding.

CDSS-ESL Raised Juneteenth Flag for the 1st time in IL June 2020

Mr. Johnson stated, “It is my dream to make Juneteenth big. We need to come together and celebrate our REAL African American Independence Day because June 19 is our holiday; not July 4.”

CDSS-ESL is happy to report, Juneteenth as a "paid holiday" across St Clair Co in 2020 - It "IS "our true American Independence Day in our region and soon across The State of Illinois!!!

Community Development Sustainable Solutions is a proactive innovative East St. Louis, IL based nonprofit agency.

As part of CDSS’ non-violence initiatives, the grassroots agency seeks to civically engage members of the community with positive fun and educational events such as “Put Down The Guns, Pick Up Your Sons, March to Fun”, (a collaboration with Studio 618 for the past 5 years)

and National Night Out, an annual event in August promoting positive police/community relations. Juneteenth-East St. Louis is no different as CDSS brings to life the historical significance of June 19, 1865, our Emancipation Day.

According to Mr. Terrance Taylor, CDSS Vice President, “Last year was BIG, but this year is EVEN BIGGER! We expect upwards of 1000 people at the boathouse in Jones Park so we are looking for more vendors and more entertainers to engage but you better do it fast because time and space is running out. You can call me at 618-514-3199 or Stephanie Taylor at 618-514-3199.”

Since that fateful day in June 1865, this holiday and its meaning seems to fade in and out just as our sense of direction as a community and a diverse country. Close your eyes and imagine what it must have been like to hear the words finally proclaimed aloud and with conviction, “YOU ARE FREE!” Stephanie Bush, President CDSS, said, “It is the year 2018 and this year’s theme is Unity and Wellness as we continue our Call to Change. We welcome everyone regardless of color or culture out to reflect upon this journey we embarked upon back when Lincoln was president.

Juneteenth-East St. Louis

Unity and Wellness

Sense of Pride

Neighborhood Involvement

Rich Cultural Atmosphere

Civic Engagement

Come out and invite some friends from outside the community as well. Let them see how East St. Louis, IL (the only all-black city in the U.S.), celebrates and acknowledges our freedom and desire to move forward. Plenty of Barbeque, strawberries, vending, rides, and of course, lots of fun! The event kicks off with an 11am Parade from 89th and State Street traveling down state and turning at 25th street then proceeding all the way to Jones Park. Let’s get together and make some noise. It has been too long since we have seen any festivities run through our city streets. Mr. Taylor said, “Be on the lookout for our Juneteenth King and Queen this year as well as an end of the evening Sparkling Unity Circle!”

Join us June 16, 2021 as we call our communities together in remembrance and celebration of this significant date in our American history!