On June 18, North Lawndale residents will see the local Anna and Frederick Douglass Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Dr., become a space to celebrate freedom culture, family and tradition. For its second year, The Juneteenth Village Fest, organized by It Takes A Village Family of Schools with support of several sponsors, brings performances, family-friendly fun and a celebration of culture for local residents.
“We want everybody to really think of this as a family reunion that we look forward to do in Douglass Park every single year,” said Nakisha Harris Hobbs, CEO of It Takes A Village Family of Schools.
The lineup of performers includes national and local talent who span genres, from hip hop to gospel to R&B and drumming, so all family members can find something they’ll enjoy.
“On the local talent side, I would really urge everybody to be there to see Bella Bahhs,” Harris Hobbs said. Bahhs is a local hip hop artist, activist and educator from the West Side of Chicago.
“She just really embodies the spirit and energy of this festival, in terms of us as Black people really appreciating our culture, lifting up our culture and also recognizing the responsibility that we have to always be acting in the best interest of our community,” she said.
All participating artists will bring amazing performances, including Angie Stone, Marsha Ambrosius, BJ The Chicago Kid, Kindred Family Soul, DJ Wayne Williams, South Shore Drill Team, Jesse White Tumblers, DJ Marka Flava, Redd’s Angelz, A-List Dance Team, Darius Parker & Vee Armstrong, Soul Children, Spellbinder Magician, DJ Marco, Muntu Drummers & Dancers and Libations Kamau Rashid.
“Talib Kweli has been an underground hip hop artist for the last 25 to 30 years,” Harris Hobbs said. “He always makes music that is a reflection of the current condition and possibilities for Black people and communities of color.”
The festival’s location is also a significant part of this celebration. Two years ago, Village Leadership Academy students, one of the schools in It Takes A Village Family of Schools, campaigned to change the name of the park from one honoring a slaveholding family to that of renowned abolitionists, Anna & Frederick Douglass.
“This Juneteenth Festival is really for us not only to pay homage to our history but also to pay homage to Village Leadership Academy who led the campaign to rename the Anna and Frederick Douglass Park,” Harris Hobbs said. Village Leadership Academy students will also have a performance at the event.
The festival includes several activities for children and youth, including a petting zoo, a carnival area, inflatables, a youth DJ, face painting, games and a magic show. Social service providers will also be at the event to connect families to resources, empower residents through education and information and perform health screenings, among other activities. The event’s sponsors include State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (8th), Ald. Monique Scott (24th), the Illinois Department of Commerce, Amazon and Riot Fest, among others.
“We’re proud to be a part of a community-based team that really is organizing a festival in Douglass Park that is for the local residents of Douglass Park,” Harris Hobbs said, adding the festival was organized to provide a high-quality experience for community members.