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MTD Juneteenth Block Party

June 16, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) will host a Juneteenth Block Party on Friday, June 16, from 5pm to 7pm outside at Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign. To celebrate, MTD and our community partners have created a space to connect with one another and support the observance of Juneteenth through local art, poetry, and history. This event is free to the public and will occupy a portion of the parking lot in front of Illinois Terminal at University Ave. and Market St. with our Juneteenth Bus, Mama Duke’s Food Truck, and musical entertainment by DJ BJ Clark.
MTD’s Juneteenth Bus will be on display at the event for guests to get on board to learn about the history and importance of Juneteenth, an annual celebration commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. The bus is a mobile exhibit with nearly 40 unique interior displays ranging from historical facts and photographs, to quotes from famous figures, as well as book excerpts and recommendations for continued learning. Several MTD employees submitted quotes about Juneteenth, freedom, and the Black experience, which are also displayed.
To honor Juneteenth, we are also proud to announce a new art installation on the second floor of Illinois Terminal in the Amtrak Waiting Area. Second and third graders from Champaign Unit 4’s Booker T Washington Elementary School created Juneteenth-inspired artwork, with help from their amazing Art Teacher, Emily Pawlicki, to share with the public through the summer.
MTD also commissioned poems from the current Urbana Poet Laureate, Ja Nelle Davenport-Pleasure and Youth Poet Laureate, Danyla Nash. In addition to a live poetry reading from Danyla Nash at the event, both poems are prominently displayed in a light box behind the driver on the Juneteenth Bus and are installed along the bus platform of Illinois Terminal.
The Juneteenth Bus Mobile Exhibit is a powerful and accessible educational resource that will be in service on randomly assigned routes through the end of July 2023. MTD will also make the bus exhibit available at community events throughout the summer, including Juneteenth Celebrations from the Champaign Park District (Saturday, June 17) and Urbana Park District (Sunday, June 18) and the 25th Annual MLK Jettie Rhodes Neighborhood Day (Saturday, June 24).