When the Borough of Washington council in Warren County took a vote on a resolution to denote the day slavery ended in the United States, also known as Juneteenth, they encountered opposition from Councilwoman Louann Cox.
“What exactly is Juneteenth?” Cox wanted to know. “Why do we need this? Where did this come from? Were not white people in there also? Why are we celebrating something when there’s 95 million other things we need to deal with. I am sure there’s not any African American people who live today that have close relationships with a relative that was a slave. Also it was white man who got rid of slavery so we have to give credit where credit is due to everybody. Where is all this crazy stuff coming from all at once?”
Borough Deputy Mayor Ethel Conry, who is of African American descent, responded, “I do have relatives that are still living that were slaves to let you know. I took offense to that. I have a 101-year-old uncle and I took offense.” (For clarification, Conry’s uncle knew family members who had been slaves.)
The Warren County Democratic Committee wanted to know:
“Councilwoman Louann Cox seems to have answered her own questions as to why we need to observe and celebrate Juneteenth. Has she been living under a rock this past year?”
“We can’t keep giving elected officials a pass by chalking their remarks up to ignorance. Remarks like this aren’t ignorant, they’re racist,” said Warren County Democratic Committee Chairman Tom Palmieri. “Elected officials need to be held accountable for the words they say. Words hurt. And Black Lives Matter.”
He said the the Warren County Democratic Committee is in full support of Deputy Mayor Ethel Conry standing up against the racist remarks by her colleague, Councilwoman Louann Cox.