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May/June response: NMI to Host Juneteenth Celebration

More than 50,000 expected to attend parade and festival.

by Audrey Stanton-Smith

One of United Women in Faith’s National Mission Institutions, Northcott Neighborhood House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, hosts one of the nation’s longest-running Juneteenth celebrations.

On June 19, 2024, Northcott will host its 53rd annual Juneteenth Day Parade and Celebration. More than 50,000 people and some 400 vendors are expected, said Vanessa Johnson, development director for Northcott Neighborhood House.

“The unrestricted dollars we receive from United Women in Faith is really the key to how we support this event,” Johnson said.

Although the event has other sponsors, many of those sponsors prefer to lend their names to the post-parade celebration’s dedicated kids’ zone, or the teen zone, or the new veterans’ zone, which was just added in 2023. United Women in Faith’s support helps Northcott pay for things like safety barricades, security, and sanitation, Johnson explained.

Organizers with Northcott Neighborhood House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, look forward to June 19, 2024, when they will host their 53rd annual Juneteenth Parade and Festival, shown here in the past year.
Photo: Courtesy Northcott Neighborhood House.

“Dollars coming from you guys really support those major behind-the-scenes efforts,” she said.

United Women in Faith also helps Northcott continue its year-round mission of job trainings, stocking a food pantry, and helping Milwaukee families in need.

But on June 19—a Wednesday this year—Northcott will be the driving force behind a parade and festival that commemorate the effective end of slavery in the United States.

“The parade is the highlight of the whole festival,” Johnson said. “We had a hundred entries last year—drill teams, bands, elected officials, sports cars, businesses, talent, floats.”

As many or even more are expected to participate this year, and some of them will win cash prizes. Following the 9 a.m. parade, the festival continues with hundreds of vendors selling food, clothing, crafts, and novelty items.

National and local talent is expected to take center stage.

“Our main thing is that this is a place for community,” Johnson said. “It’s a place for everyone to come together.”

The event commemorates June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and ensured that all enslaved people be freed. 

If you can’t make it to Milwaukee, Johnson suggests looking for Juneteenth celebrations near you and tuning in to documentaries and Black film festivals. Watch the Northcott Neighborhood House website,, for links to its Juneteenth festival website where parade and festival information will be shared. 

Audrey Stanton-Smith is editor of response.

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