NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Hundreds gathered on the New Haven Green on Friday to celebrate Juneteenth.
There was a celebratory sound of drums and clapping.
On this day in 1865, slaves were freed in the United States.
New Haven’s community honored the date with a march through the streets of the Elm City to East Rock Park.
A woman was seen waving sage, clearing any hostility in the air. Near the park, people came out of their homes to celebrate with them.
Dawn Lorentson, New Haven resident, cheered them on as they marched past her home.
“There are no words,” she said. “I’m so moved. I’m so excited.”
Her neighbor, Mark Branch, did the same.
He said, “It’s a day of sort of unfinished business, but it’s also a day to celebrate what progress has been made, and I’m thrilled to have them out here.”
In the crowd of hundreds was New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.
“We all have a lot of work to do, not just for the fact that so many people don’t know the history around Juneteenth and slavery but about so many other issues around systemic racism,” he said. “This is a time for us to really reflect on how we have to be better at teaching each other.”
As the celebration continued into the late afternoon, supporters, like Marcy Jones, wanted to leave this message for viewers.
“This is a celebration of independence,” she said. “It is our Fourth of July. For me, as a black woman, it is my Fourth of July. The fireworks are on; we don’t need to see them.”
Elicker and the president of the Board of Alders declared Juneteenth a city holiday. They are now urging state officials to make it a state holiday.