The Northwest Indiana Healthy Start Program hosted its fifth annual Juneteenth Celebration and Health Fair on June 22 at the Gary Neighborhood Services.
Known as “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day,” Juneteenth marks the date, June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers, led by Gen. Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and slaves were now free.
This event occurred two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was official Jan. 1, 1863.
At the Juneteenth celebration and health fair, NWI Healthy Start’s health systems planner Annette Lenoir-Johnson said not only are they acknowledging freedom from enslavement, but the current freedom of choice when it comes to health in the community.
“We now have the freedom of choices made in the region when it comes to healthcare, religion, politics and in our own neighborhoods. While our main goal is to reduce infant mortality by eliminating health disparities, we also provide free services for citizens who may not be able to afford a doctor’s appointment,” Lenoir-Johnson said.
A steady crowd flowed in and out of the fair, grabbing free information from area agencies as well as the Gary Literacy Coalition, Gary Public Library, Lake County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Gary Health Department, North Shore Health Centers, State Farm, the Caring Corner and more.
Free health screenings for blood pressure, back and neck pain, dental, eyes and more were also available. Entertainment included a DJ and performances by the dance group Sisters One on One from East Chicago.
Deja Robinson of Chicago said this was her third time attending the Juneteenth celebration and Health Fair. She had her blood pressure checked.
“My blood pressure is good but I am underweight,” she said, adding she believed it was a good idea to hold a health fair and celebrate history.
The Miller Garden Club is hosting its 14th annual Secret Gardens tour Saturday and Sunday, July 6 and 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
This year’s tour includes five gardens in the Miller Beach community of Gary. Tours begin at the Aquatorium at Marquette Park with shuttle bus service to the gardens between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Box lunches will be available on a first come, first served basis. Tickets for the Secret Garden tour are $10 and available at Ayers Realtors, 646 S. Lake Street, 938-1188, Lake Street Gallery, 613 S. Lake Street, 938-4566 and Marquette Perk, 900 N. Shelby Street, 938-0820.
A guided bicycle tour of the gardens begin at 10:30 a.m. For more information visit www.millergardenclub.org.