CHICAGO — The Juneteenth Peace Rally kicked off Monday morning at Kenwood Academy on the city’s South Side.

The free event was billed as the 3rd District Inaugural Juneteenth Peace Rally, that being the 3rd district of Cook County. It began at 10 a.m. and ran until 2 p.m.

With the help of Black Men United and the Black Fire Brigade, the event is providing a free barbecue and donations of various household furniture, appliances, and goods while supplies lasts. 

Speakers included Cook County Board Commissioner for the 3rd district Bill Lowry, Gov. JB Pritzker, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, U.S. Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL), and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle among others.

“I’m proud to be here to commemorate Juneteenth, now an official state holiday since I signed it into law,” Gov. Pritzker said. “And I want to point out we did that before the federal government got to it.”

The main purpose of the event is to put a call out to end gun violence in the city.

“I want to see a community center in every ward in Chicago,” Cook County Commissioner Bill Lowry said. “If we do that, we’re going to find that today we’re impacting violence but tomorrow we have a path forward – a path forward for generations to come.”

Juneteenth took place on Sunday, but the federal holiday is observed on Monday and so too are many of the holiday’s celebrations.