CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) has announced that in honor of Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, they have launched a Juneteenth mobile exhibit.

While Juneteenth has been observed for more than 150 years, not everyone knows about the holiday, and MTD said they want to help people learn more about and celebrate with them on board the MTD mobile Juneteenth exhibit.

MTD said their Juneteenth Bus hit the streets on May 11 and 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, they said, 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, the bus company said. In addition, MTD said they commissioned poems for the holiday from the current Urbana Poet Laureates, Ja Nelle Davenport-Pleasure and Danyla Nash. Both poems are prominently displayed in a light box behind the driver and will soon be installed on the platform of Illinois Terminal.

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

For anyone wanting to explore the mobile exhibit on-board there are a few options. MTD said the Juneteenth Bus Mobile Exhibit will be in service on randomly assigned routes through the end of July 2023. They also said they will make the bus exhibit available at community events throughout the spring and summer. Announcements on planned appearances will be posted to the their social media pages (@rideMTD) as events are confirmed.