Wichita State Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosts seventh annual JuneteenthICT parade

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion brought the community together on June 18 to commemorate Juneteenth at the seventh annual Juneteenth ICT Parade.

The Juneteenth ICT Parade commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth, in general, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery dating back to 1865.

On June 19, the Major General Gordan Granger led the Union soldiers to Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and all slaves were free, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth has been celebrated in Wichita since the early 1900s. The annual celebrations include singing, story telling, food and dancing. As the event has evolved, celebrations have expanded to include live acting, poetry readings, art shows and most recently the ICT Parade.

Danielle Johnson is the vice-chairman of CORE of Wichita and helped set up the Juneteenth Parade. This is her sixth year working the parade.

“This is a seven-year long celebration under community operations recovery empowerment,” Johnson said. “It’s important for us to be able to bring the community together. It takes a lot to bring it together. There’s no paid staff. It’s all volunteers, every year, that puts this event together.”

Contacting businesses and setting up the venue takes about a year, so the second the celebration is over, organizers start the planning for next year, according to Johnson. 

The parade route started at Holy Savior Catholic Academy. There, wrist bands were distributed to those attending as well as participants. Once the parade began, participants took their decorated trailers, trucks and horses down 13th Street to McAdams Park.

“This is an annual event, and we want folks to continue to grow with it,” Johnson said. “Always look for Juneteenth staff around June 19 to join the celebration.”