A group of five scholars smile for the camera outside at the Juneteenth parade. The group is wearing matching ’Opal’s Walk for Freedom’ shirts.

Civic Collaboration Team Chicago

This summer, Civic Collaboration Team Chicago is working with the Justice Journey Alliance Leadership Foundation of Chicago (JJALFOC), a nonprofit that seeks to bridge racial gaps in the community.

The team helped plan the organization’s inaugural “Opal’s Walk for Freedom” Juneteenth celebration in the city on June 19. JJALFOC and nonprofit teams from Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, and Tokyo completed a 2.5-mile walk to acknowledge the 2.5 years it took for the news of freedom to reach enslaved Black people in Texas.

Team Chicago spearheaded committees for sponsorships, medical team coordination, outreach, marketing and social media, and entertainment.

The team said collaborating with Opal Lee, the founder and “grandmother” of the federal Juneteenth holiday, was an inspiration and helped them “recognize that we are living history.”

“Federal acknowledgment of Juneteenth is so new, yet vital to the progression of racial justice and Black liberation,” the team said. “The walk was a great success, transcending societal barriers and uniting people from different backgrounds.”

The team of scholars comprise Cayden Hammonds ’27, Will Walker III ’27, Kira Isenhart ’27, Christina Huang ’26, and Kamryn Burton ’27.

During the Civic Collaboration summer, teams of scholars embed themselves in cities across North America to investigate community challenges and propose real solutions.