Addison Trail’s BEYOND club partners with Addison Public Library to host Celebrating Juneteenth event

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On June 19, members of Addison Trail’s new BEYOND club partnered with the Addison Public Library to host a Celebrating Juneteenth event to recognize and honor the significance of Juneteenth. That event marks the date in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the U.S. learned from Union soldiers in Texas that they were free – more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. This announcement is considered the official end of slavery in the U.S. In 2021, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 3922 to make Juneteenth a state holiday, and U.S. President Joe Biden then made June 19 a federal holiday.

Addison Trail’s BEYOND club is led by adviser VaLarie Humphrey and provides mentorship and academic support for black students to enable them to thrive holistically in high school and BEYOND. During the Juneteenth event, more than 180 participants enjoyed food, music, games, two Juneteenth exhibits, a collaborative art project, a performance by the Black Diamond Elite Step Team and a performance by storyteller and musician Kelly Campos. For more information, go to

At District 88, the well-being of students and staff is a top priority. The district’s core values include fostering an affirming environment and a sense of belonging, where all students, staff and community members feel safe, valued, respected and welcome – regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or ability level. The district has about 40 languages and more than 30 countries represented among its families, and almost half of the nearly 4,000 students in the district speak a language other than English at home. Establishing groups such as BEYOND is one way the district maintains a welcoming environment.