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Third annual Accessible Juneteenth celebrates Black people with disabilities

Victoria Boateng plays the djemba while Matt Morgan deejays. Boateng is a teacher and performer of West African drums, including the djembe and dununs.
Photo: Justin Cooper


There was music, food, information and fun in the UIC Quad June 17 at the third annual Accessible Juneteenth, a celebration of Black people with disabilities.

The event was held to “elevate and raise awareness and lift up the voices, concerns, issues, joys and culture of disabled people of color,” explained Jae Jin Pak, coordinator of community education in the Institute on Disability and Human Development, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.


In yellow shirt: Timotheus “T.J.” Gordon Jr., one of the Accessible Juneteenth co-organizers, speaks at the event.
Photo: Justin Cooper

He and co-lead organizer Timotheus “T.J.” Gordon Jr. ’19 MS DHD, research associate in the institute, said they established the celebration to create a safe space for disabled people of color.

“We’re proud of our multiple identities,” Gordon told the Tribune. “And we’ll continue to build our communities, our nation, and the world with our many talents. And we’ll continue to brag about it just like we brag about being Black and proud in general.”

Campus sponsors for Accessible Juneteenth included the Institute on Disability and Human Development and the Disability Cultural Center. Chicago-area sponsors included the Chicagoland Disabled People of Color Coalition, Access Living and the Chicago Disability Pride Parade.

The event was also supported by a grant from Whole Foods.