We write to celebrate and recognize our growing racial diversity in Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside and to share our belief that purposeful inclusivity and appreciation for each other will strengthen these communities. 

Juneteenth (June 19th) is our newest federal holiday, celebrating freedom and independence for those who were enslaved as the law of our land.

In anticipation of Juneteenth this year, Riverside Village President Joe Ballerine shared his thoughts about its importance at the village board meeting and in a letter published in the Landmark. 

He invited a predominantly white community to consider our freedoms in ways we may not have recognized before Juneteenth National Independence Day became a federal and state of Illinois holiday in 2021.

Hundreds of residents in our community marched on June 19, 2020, in protest of the brutal, racist murders of Black Americans at the hands of police officers. Many of us only learned the history and significance of Juneteenth at that time.

Here in our communities, our rejection of racism is even stronger than three years ago. But we must commit to making our push for equality and inclusivity more tangible, and more visible.

The Fourth of July celebrates the nation’s political independence from Great Britain, marking the beginning of our government by self-determination. Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery, a day when Americans of all races should recognize not only our nation’s complicated and imperfect history, but also the realization of freedom for so many Americans.

Let’s continue to learn from each other, find strength in each other’s histories, invite each other in, and fight for equality and justice together.

Indivisible West Suburban Action League and community members Colleen Arturi, Jennifer Fournier, Amy Jacksic, Amy Bilow, Helen Gallagher, Lisa Janunas, Bridget Doherty, Lisa Garay, Lindsay Morrison, Cristin Evans, Courtney Greve Hack, Josie Polanek, Nilsa Sweetser, Erin McGovern, Debra Faletti, Suzanne Kahle, Jennifer Leimberer, Tracy Bohrer, Natalia Wator, Lorie Pearce, Kim Baratta, Joseph Ballerine, Anna Slonska, Lisa Aulerich-Marciniak, Liz Buoscio, Chloe Vitale, Ben Sells, Christine Lange