Pullman Juneteenth celebration looks to the past, present and future

At the Paint the Hood Orange gathering, community members reflect on the history of enslaved Americans, the violence in Chicago and constructive paths forward.

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A parade member waves a flag during the 11th Annual Juneteenth Community ReCommitment Celebration, “Paint the Hood Orange”, outside the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, 817 East 104th St, Monday, June 19, 2023. | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A parade member waves a flag during the 11th annual Juneteenth celebration, called Paint the Hood Orange, outside the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum in Pullman on Monday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Families gathered in Pullman on Monday to celebrate the emancipation of Black enslaved Americans, and to raise awareness of growing gun violence across Chicago at the close of another deadly holiday weekend.

The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, in partnership with Hustle Mommies, a nonprofit dedicated to helping inner city moms, hosted its 11th annual Juneteenth celebration called “Paint the Hood Orange.” Starting at 10 a.m., the day’s events included a youth basketball tournament, block party and parade, all of which aimed to educate as well as celebrate, the event’s organizers said.

“‘Paint the Hood Orange’ is galvanizing all of us because in order to save our communities, we have to come together,” said Ariel Rainey, founder and chief executive of Hustle Mommies. “I’m tired of seeing so many of us have to bury our kids. In Chicago, there’s too many moms who do not have answers to why her baby was killed or why her significant other was killed.”

Hustle Mommies founder, Ariel DeNey Rainey, guides CPD Interim Superintendent Fred Waller around their event during the 11th Annual Juneteenth Community ReCommitment Celebration, “Paint the Hood Orange”, outside the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, 817 East 104th St, Monday, June 19, 2023. | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Ariel Rainey, founder of Hustle Mommies, and interim CPD Supt. Fred Waller walk around the grounds of the Paint the Hood Orange gathering in Pullman. “Paint the Hood Orange is galvanizing all of us because in order to save our communities, we have to come together,” Rainey said.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The celebration stretched from the museum’s campus at 817 E. 104th St. to Corliss High School across the street and Butler College Prep. Free snacks and beverages were handed out as community members and police officers from the local district visited under sunny skies.

More than 500 participants signed up for a basketball tournament, sponsored by Wintrust and held at Corliss High School and Butler College Prep, according to the Pullman museum. Kids of all ages were invited to participate and compete for a mystery prize.

“Our philosophy is that we use history, heritage and culture as a unifying factor to educate and awaken people in the community,” said Dr. Lyn Hughes, founder of the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum.

David Peterson National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum Dr. Lyn Hughes Chicago Police Department CPD Fred Waller

CPD Interim Supt. Fred Waller, left, speaks with event organizers David Peterson, executive director of the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, and Dr. Lyn Hughes, founder of the museum. “Our philosophy is that we use history, heritage and culture as a unifying factor to educate and awaken people in the community,” Hughes said.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Hughes said the event’s true purpose is to help kids connect with the history of Black Americans and ultimately help them make better decisions in the future.

“We help kids become better adults because when you know better, you do better,” Hughes said.

bouncy house kids Paint the Hood Orange

Kids play on a bouncy house at the Paint the Hood Orange event.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Interim police Supt. Fred Waller appeared at the event, calling on all Chicagoans to “join the fight to save lives.”

“All around here you’ll see the color orange. Orange is an uplifting color, but it’s also a color that raises awareness for gun violence prevention and honors those we have lost to senseless gun violence,” Waller said.

Waller’s speech comes after a bloody weekend. A shooting at a Juneteenth gathering in Willowbrook early Sunday left one person dead and 22 others wounded.

In the Roseland neighborhood, about two miles from the Pullman museum, two people were killed and three others wounded when someone opened fire on a family gathering Sunday evening.

“My heart, on behalf of the Chicago Police Department, goes out to the victims and families who experienced the trauma of gun violence over this past weekend,” said Waller. “There’s just too many guns and too many people willing to use those guns to settle even the most minor arguments.”

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