HANNIBAL | The Hannibal City Council has cleared the way for a “Black Lives Matter Social Justice March” on Saturday in downtown Hannibal.
During a special called council meeting on Thursday afternoon, council members approved a handful of street closures from 3 to 5 p.m., on June 27, to accommodate the march. Faye Dant, executive director of Jim's Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Center, brought the second of two certificate of insurance documents to city hall Friday to complete the process.
Approved was the closure of Third Street, Center Street, Bird Street and Hill Street. The march will be organized and start in Central Park. Participants will proceed down Broadway to North Main Street. After turning onto North Main the marchers will continue on to North Street where the event is slated to conclude. Dant expressed her enthusiasm for the parade, and she will be marching in the parade as an “interested participant in the whole of it.” Jim's Journey is not sponsoring the event, but the parade is community-sponsored with many local residents chipping in to bring the event together.
The Juneteenth Celebration on Friday, June 19, commemorated the date in 1865 when the end of slavery was officially announced in Texas. Hannibal's annual celebration featured music, games and food — and this year's event included a march down the sidewalk to Main Street, following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. The Black Lives Matter Social Justice March will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 27, in Central Park at Fourth Street, with the Rev. Jasmine Thompson praying and speaking about the importance of the Black Lives Matter cause before the parade commences around 3:15 p.m.
“She's going to lead us off with prayer and encourage the marchers and anybody participating that it's a just cause and something we have to do — stand up, be courageous and do your part,” Dant said. Dant said everyone is working to stay safe from the spread of the coronavirus, following CDC guidelines for maintaining social distancing and encouraging everyone to wear face masks. Participants who are unable to walk the route will join the procession with a caravan of vehicles.
Dant commended several community agencies and residents, including Mayor James Hark and members of the Hannibal City Council, HannibalPolice Department and Hannibal Street Department. Dant is looking forward to the energy from young people participating in the march, like Talya Mayfield, who worked with fellow organizers by designing, developing and distributing posters and leading outreach efforts for the event.
“I know that there are young people involved, and that's something I'm very excited about,” Dant said.