The organizers of the Juneteenth Freedom Day Festival, to be held from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 17 at Woodstock Square, have announced Rodney Katushabe as the festival’s featured speaker.
Katushabe graduated with top honors from McHenry Community College and was elected as a student commencement speaker. Katushabe earned an Associate of Arts degree from MCC within a period of less than one year while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. He was also involved in student organizations at the college, including the Black Student Union, speech and debate team and Phi Theta Kappa. He received eight awards upon graduation, including the Academic Scholarship award and Student Leadership recognition through the MCC and Me program.
He volunteers as the assistant treasurer for a not-for-profit organization called Ugandan Community in Illinois, an organization that brings together Ugandans living in Illinois and the United States at large to create a home away from home for immigrants and a way to send assistance to those in need back in Uganda. He plans to continue his education at Northeastern Illinois University, majoring in business management and accounting.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date when enslaved persons in Galveston, Texas, who had been cut off from news of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, first heard that they had been freed from an order read by a general upon the Union’s arrival to take control of the port. It became an annual festival in cities and towns across Texas in the post-Civil War Era. In this century, observations have spread across the United States as a Jubilee day of liberation.
This McHenry County celebration was organized by Gloria Van Hof, a McHenry County Board member, noted Underground Railroad historian and long-time activist along with other community leaders.
The program will feature speakers, musical performances, and readings with food trucks, vendors, and fun family activities on the Woodstock Square.
For more information look for the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100092529002712 and a Facebook Event invitation at https://www.facebook.com/events/927474018514023?ref=newsfeed.