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Mayor Brandon Johnson marks Juneteenth by joining youth-led West Side walking tour

Youth guides lead walking tours on West Side
Youth guides lead walking tours on West Side 02:10

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Youth on the West Side are celebrating Juneteenth – the holiday also known as Freedom Day or Black Fourth of July, recognizing the full emancipation of slaves in the United States – by kicking off a summer series of walking tours with My Block, My Hood, My City.

Mayor Brandon Johnson joined Wednesday's walking tour in North Lawndale, led by youth guides from the West Side.

"Today is a reminder of why it's important for us to fully express our liberation, because there are forces who – just like in the 1800s – did not want to realize our full liberation. Those forces did not die out with the Civil War," Johnson said.

Organizers said the tours bring the young guides so much joy to show where they eat and they play.

The first time they did these tours, there were only six tours that summer. The next summer there were 31 tours. Now they're doing multiple public tours every Saturday from mid-June through August, and also offer private tours. The goal is to host 100 tours this summer.

It a summer job for the youth guides. They're paid $15 an hour, and get paid to show off their own community.

Organizers said, with these tours, visitors will see the West Side from the eyes of the young people who live there.

"You always hear the negative about the West Side of Chicago; they're selling drugs, they're shooting, they're in gangs, they're doing this. You get to see the artful intersections, you get to see the community roots, you get to see the hidden gem restaurants," said Jahmal Cole, founder and CEO of My Block, My Hood, My City. "You get to see the joy in the eyes of the youth, and this is Chicago, so youth are just showing off their neighborhood."

The free North Lawndale youth-led walking tours are held every Saturday at 9 a.m. through August. Tickets are available online.

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