St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones gave a sincere, heartwarming speech during the First Annual Juneteenth Caribbean Heritage Walkathon on June 19, 2021 on the Cricket Field in Forest Park Forever in St. Louis.
Good morning everyone. I am so happy that the weather decided to cooperate. We were outside yesterday at another Juneteenth Celebration and I swear I melted in front of Sumner High School. So if you see a pool of chocolate in front of Sumner High School that belongs to me.
I’m Tishaura Jones. I use the she-her pronouns and I am so blessed and honored to be the 47th Mayor of St. Louis and the first black female to lead St. Louis in its-over 250 year history.
I am really happy that we are celebrating Juneteenth and giving it the honor that it deserves.
As I was talking to Fox 2 earlier today about the significance of this holiday, I told them that I would hope this is the time for all of us to reflect and to learn the full history of this country, all of the good, the bad and the ugly…because we have to be honest with ourselves.
So many people have been ignored and flat out left behind by our government for far too long…
If we don’t know or understand our history, we are doomed to repeat it. And we also have to learn the history of St. Louis and it’s contribution to this country. And it hasn’t always been pretty either. So we are still fighting against some of these systemic policies that have ruled this city for generations.
Please note that as Mayor it is my number one focus that we look at every policy, every dollar spent through a racial equity lens. So many people have been ignored and flat out left behind by our government for far too long, and it’s time we right those wrongs, not only within City Government but also within our City because we cannot expect our city to thrive when half of it’s left to fail.
So please know that as mayor, I will show up everyday and work hard for you except on Sundays; that’s my day of rest. As a daughter of this city, as a daughter of North St. Louis, it’s personal for me.
And as a mother of the most adorable black son – he’s six feet tall now, he would hate it if he heard me calling him adorable but he is – it’s important that we change the environment for him to live, thrive and grow. Because when we were having a conversation about what the Mayor does, I told him that the mayor was also indirectly responsible for the police. He said, “Oh that means I will be safe.” A mother shouldn’t have to become mayor in order for him to feel safe with interactions with our law enforcement. So I use that as my North Star.
How do we change the environment for our children, (and all of our children) to feel safe with interactions with any of our public servants, not just law enforcement?
Again thank you for having me be Honorary Chair for your First Annual WalkaThon. I am so honored and privileged to be here with you, and God Bless you and happy Juneteenth….