Pastor Jaclyn Hotard proclaimed Friday June 19 during a special Council meeting on Wednesday for “Juneteenth Independence Day”.
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH, La. – In a move that pastors described as “historic,” St. John the Baptist Parish declared June 19, the day of commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, a parish holiday.
Pastor Jaclyn Hotard proclaimed Friday June 19 during a special Council meeting on Wednesday for “Juneteenth Independence Day”. The Council then unanimously declared June 19 to be an official holiday.
“We wanted to officially recognize Juneteenth and honor its place of historical importance,” said Hotard. “In St. John, we are committed to ensuring that our community encourages inclusion of the entire story and that the community celebrates June 19th.”
The parish offices are closed on Friday, June 19, due to public holidays. A public march for justice and freedom is also scheduled for Friday at 8 a.m., starting at the Home Depot in LaPlace and ending in the Percy Hebert building.
“We ask all of our residents and community leaders to come together and commemorate this special day,” said Council President Lennix Madere.
The June 19 holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. The declaration of emancipation, with which all slaves were liberated, was issued in January 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. However, it took much longer for the news to spread. This news did not reach the slaves in Galveston, Texas until June 19, 1865. Union General Gordon Granger read the declaration of emancipation to African Americans. These slaves were so happy about their freedom that they started dancing and partying, and generations have celebrated June 19th since then.
St. John the Baptist Parish is joining a growing wave of businesses and organizations to recognize the holiday. After George Floyd’s death and global protests calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality, there is a balance between companies fighting racism and helping black workers.