For a village as racially diverse as Forest Park, you don’t see a lot of signs of pride and joy in our African-American heritage. So we take pride and on Saturday evening we will take joy in the fifth annual Forest Park Juneteenth celebration. An old, mainly southern, celebration, Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in Texas in 1865. But the cause for celebration Juneteenth represents has gradually found its way north. In fact it was Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator, who in 2003 proposed the legislation recognizing Juneteenth as a state holiday. Thank you Mr. President.

In Forest Park, Juneteenth was mainly the creation of Village Commissioner Rory Hoskins though he has been actively joined in subsequent years by co-sponsors at the park district and in the local Kiwanis Club. The library, elementary schools and police department are now active supporters as are a good batch of local businesses including this newspaper.

While there is the historic nature of Juneteenth, in Forest Park this is a plain celebration. It happens at the pool, admission is free, the hot dogs are free, the music is great, tons of raffles and prizes, and you don’t have to be black to have a good time. But it helps to be filled with some Forest Park pride.