BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Sullivan County Commission voted to officially recognize Juneteenth, but not before one commissioner called it a “woke holiday.”
Commissioners voted 17–4 Thursday night to recognize the General Assembly’s designation of Juneteenth as an official holiday and to make it a paid holiday for county employees.
Juneteenth is the commemoration of the day in June 1865 when slaves in Texas learned of their freedom almost three years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It is observed on June 19.
Before county commissioners voted, Commissioner Joe Carr explained why he was going to vote against it.
“I just think Juneteenth is a woke holiday and we shouldn’t give these people an inch,” Carr said. “No one in Sullivan County is in favor of this, almost nobody. The only people this is going to please is the same people that were in Nashville, in our Capitol, causing an insurrection and assaulting state troopers. So I’m voting ‘no’ on this.”
Carr’s talk of an “insurrection” is a reference to large gun control protests at the Tennessee State Capitol in March following the deadly shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville in which six people, including three children, were killed.
Commissioners Hershel Glover, Joe McMurray, and Jessica Means also voted against the resolution.