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Flossmoor paves way for nonprofit to stage first HF Juneteenth Parade in 2021

If the pandemic is not still a pressing concern come June, the Homewood and Flossmoor communities may be treated to the area’s first Juneteenth Parade and Festival.

Carrie Malfeo, left, explains how the Flossmoor Seed Library works during a community cleanup day in April 2019. Malfeo was recently honored by Flossmoor trustees for her environmental community service. (Chronicle file photo)

The Flossmoor Village Board voted unanimously during a regular meeting the evening of Dec. 7 to approve a resolution requesting temporary road closures from the Illinois Department of Transportation to make way for the event, which would step off at 1 p.m. June 19 from the corner of 183rd Street and Governors Highway.

The event is being organized by You Matter 2, a nonprofit founded by Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduate Destiny Watson, according to a report from Assistant Village Manager Allison Matson. And trustees were quick to applaud Watson for her efforts.

“Destiny is just a brilliant young person who has a lot of great ideas and a lot of great energy to bring to any topic that comes to mind,” Trustee Joni Bradley-Scott said. “I’m constantly in awe of the support she is able to drum up. … I imagine this will be a great event.”

Trustee George Lofton added, “I totally applaud Destiny for this effort. … It’s something that should be celebrated.”

The parade is expected to move down Governors Highway to the high school, where the fest is to take place in the south lot until 8 p.m. It is to feature music, food and booths by Black-owned businesses.

According to Matson, the group has been planning the event with Homewood, Flossmoor and the high school since July. But the plan remains tentative, with You Matter 2 planning to determine in early 2021 whether or not it can proceed based on anticipated crowd-size restrictions. If organizers decide not to go forward with the parade and festival in 2021, the event is to take place in 2022 instead.

“I just hope that we’re good to go by June,” Trustee Brian Driscoll said. “Keep our fingers crossed.”

You Matter 2 also agreed to reimburse Flossmoor for the police and public works resources needed to safely stage the parade, but Matson noted the village is looking for ways to limit those costs through volunteer and community service officer participation.

Resolutions recognize mother-daughter duo, 100th birthday, more

Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun read a series of resolutions early during the meeting, with a focus on a pair of the village’s oldest residents.

The first recognized Juanita Mitchell — who was born Dec. 15, 1911, in Louisiana — on the verge of her 109th birthday. She moved to Chicago in 1919 in the midst of the city’s race riot. She graduated from Hyde Park Academy High School, attended Washburne Trade School, and learned to be a tailor and seamstress, according to the resolution.

Juanita Mitchell, right, with her daughter, Mary Muse, at the Flossmoor Board of Trustees meeting in 2017, where she was honored on the occasion of her 105th birthday.

She moved to Flossmoor at the age of 85 and got involved with the Ballantrae Community Association, as well as the Beautification Committee. She continues to be a member of the Ballantrae Belles.

Flossmoor previously recognized Mitchell on her 95th, 100th and 105th birthdays. And on Dec. 7, Braun also recognized Mitchell’s daughter Mary Muse, who served on the Flossmoor Community Relations Commission from 2006-2016. The resolution offers Muse and her family “best wishes for success, health and happiness.”

Braun also honored Edward Joseph Strzelec for his 100th birthday. The Flossmoor resident was born Nov. 21, 1920, in Chicago Heights. He graduated from Bloom High School, served in the United States Coast Guard during World War II and owned a Sinclair gas station in Chicago Heights.

Braun also recognized Carrie Malfeo for her work with the Flossmoor Community Relations Green Subcommittee and Green Commission, dating back to 2011. She has been involved in implementing efforts such as No Idling, Start a Bag Habit, Zero Waste, Recycle Right and Skip the Straw, and has worked on sustainability programs including Recyclepalooza, Flossmoor Earth Days, Neighborhood Cleanup Days and Residential Tree Planting.

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