Evanston celebrates Father’s Day and Juneteenth this weekend

With the temperature finally fell under 90 degrees on Friday, June 17, the RoundTable headed out to local businesses and restaurants along the Main-Dempster Mile to ask people what Father’s Day means to them as they gear up for the holiday this weekend.

As always, Father’s Day falls in the middle of Pride Month, and this year, it also happens to share the day with Juneteenth, the newly minted federal holiday of a too-often invisible day in our history that marks the end of slavery in the United States.

With all of those occasions colliding this year, many Evanston residents said they are excited to celebrate Father’s Day from an intersectional lens this weekend with their fellow Black and LGBTQ+ neighbors in mind.

Eli Cooper-Nelson, the general manager at Booked, a children’s and youth bookstore on Main Street, told the RoundTable that he and his team at the store want to offer literary selections that are expansive and inclusive of all three events this weekend: Juneteenth, Father’s Day and Pride Month.

Booked store general manager Eli Cooper-Nelson. Credit: Duncan Agnew

“Father’s Day, in some ways, can be a little complicated being a queer and trans person. That relationship has not always been awesome,” Cooper-Nelson said. “And then, also, I live a block away from my father-in-law, and a mile away from my dad, so for our family, we’ll be making the rounds, too, which is the nature of being local.

“It feels like there’s a lot to acknowledge all at once. … But as a white person, I want to make sure to not overshadow Juneteenth with Father’s Day.”

For many, Father’s Day is about revisiting the memories, rather than the person. Longtime Evanstonians Lillie Parsons and her daughter, Felisha Parsons have lived her for more than 50 years. Lillie’s husband and Felisha’s father was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, so Father’s Day each year means a chance to honor his life, his legacy and his service to the country.

For Felisha, adding the holiday of Juneteenth into the mix feels natural. “To me, it’s just a joyous occasion,” she said. “It’s all about family, remembering our loved ones, commemorating our heritage and just being proud of who we are and all that we’ve contributed to this country.”

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