You Matter 2 is hosting fundraising events May 6 and May 8 to raise funds for the group's planned Inaugural Juneteenth festival on June 19 at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.
The Illinois Legislature has a measure before it to mark Juneteenth National Freedom Day as a state holiday. Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed, which came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. It also is a day to continue fighting to end racism in the U.S.
Destiny Watson, founder of You Matter 2, believes that recognizing the day is essential.
“We celebrate a lot of other holidays, but to have something that is specific to Black culture is very important during these times,” Watson said.
The inaugural fundraising gala for You Matter 2 will be held on May 6. The virtual event will focus on the history of the organization and its continued efforts in positively impacting the Homewood-Flossmoor area. The event will feature community partners, parents and students involved in the program.
Some highlights of the evening will be a silent auction and a performance by MudCity Blu. Also during the evening, two high school seniors will be awarded the Lawrence Watson Memorial Scholarship honoring the life and legacy of Lawrence Watson, who in April 2004 lost his life as a result of police brutality in Chicago.
Tickets for the event are $50 for event access and $80 for event access with a party package. The party package will include a champagne toast, a mini charcuterie board by Artisan Graze, a serving of Garret’s popcorn and two souvenirs provided by You Matter 2.
A Juneteenth pop-up shop is set for May 8 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Flossmoor Community House, 847 Hutchison Rd. The pop-up shop will serve as a small preview of what to expect at the festival, said Watson.
The pop-up shop will feature food from local Black-owned food companies That’s A Cake, a confectionary specializing in pound cakes, and Gotta Have It-Chicken & Shrimp, a newly established food truck. There will also be Juneteenth-branded items for sale, such as T-shirts, yard signs and tumblers.
The Juneteenth Festival is scheduled for June 19 from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s South Building parking lot. The event will be done with social distancing, with guests coming during allotted timeslots, with a certain number of people permitted at a time. The family-friendly event will feature local live entertainment, a DJ, photobooth and a carnival slide. Before the event, a virtual parade will be livestreamed.
Opportunities to be a sponsor, vendor and volunteer for You Matter 2’s Homewood-Flossmoor Juneteenth Festival are available. Contact Watson at www.youmatter2.org/juneteenth.