Illinois Transit District Celebrates Juneteenth With Mobile Exhibit

Several members of MTD’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee are shown with the transit district’s Juneteenth Bus.

Juneteenth is an annual commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. While this holiday has been observed for more than 150 years, many people are discovering Juneteenth for the first time. In response, the Champaign-Urbana (IL) Mass Transit District (MTD) is showcasing its mobile Juneteenth exhibit.

MTD’s Juneteenth Bus offers the community a chance to read about the origins and importance of the holiday. Large panels on the exterior of the bus invite the public to get on board to view the mobile exhibit, which consists of nearly 40 unique interior displays ranging from historical facts and photographs, to quotes from famous figures, as well as book excerpts and recommendations for continued learning.

Several MTD employees submitted quotes about Juneteenth and the Black experience, which are also displayed. In addition, MTD commissioned poems for the holiday from the current Urbana Poet Laureates, Ja Nelle Davenport-Pleasure and Danyla Nash. Both poems are prominently displayed behind the driver and will soon be installed on a platform at the Illinois Terminal.

MTD engaged its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, comprised of 16 employees from various departments, backgrounds, and positions, to decide how the district would celebrate and observe Juneteenth. The committee selected education as one of the most important themes for MTD and worked collaboratively to create the mobile exhibit.

The Juneteenth Bus Mobile Exhibit will be in service on randomly assigned routes through the end of July 2023. MTD will also make the bus exhibit available at community events throughout the spring and summer. Visit mtd.org.

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