Gov. John P. deJongh, Jr. has proclaimed Sept. 28 as “Maroon Comemorative Day” in the Virgin Islands to raise awareness about and honor our territory’s Maroon ancestors—Africans who escaped the instutions of enslavement to live in self-determination on St. Croix and elsewhere.
Maroon Day was conceived by St. Croix Unified for Community, Culture, Environment and Economic Development, Inc. (SUCCEED) – a collective of St. Croix organizations cooperatively working as a community-based, civic organization committed to ‘smart growth’ and embracing Crucian heritage and culture as a cornerstone of economic development.
The day is also intended to provide support for the development of a Maroon Sanctuary Park as a place of solace for all people for all time.
Beginning this Sept. 28 and going forward, annual observances of Maroon Commemorative Day are to be preceded with educational programs and celebrations to encourage and facilitate youth and community involvement in the cultural heritage and preservation of the land, people and history of the Maroon Ridge and Sanctuary Park areas. As a celebration of the United States Virgin Islands, the entire community is invited to take responsibility for their own cultural heritage, traditions and history.
“Maroon Commemorative Day is an opportunity to honor our Maroon ancestors’ spirit of self-determination, which led them to rise from the shackles of enslavement, while promoting greater knowledge and understanding of ourselves and our neighbors,” de Jongh said.
“Creating a Maroon Sanctuary Park is a fitting way to show honor and respect for the sacredness of Maroon Ridge in the northwestern region of St. Croix,” deJongh added.
The new day of observance celebrates the efforts of territorial, regional, national and international community organizations working with partners and volunteers to improve awareness of the United States National Network to Freedom that exists to memorialize the Maroon and African Heritage experiences in the United States. The Maroon Ridge in Estate Annaly, in the Northwest Quarter of Frederiksted, is on the site selected to officially launch communitarian and humanitarian efforts for Maroon Commemorative Day.
Gov. deJongh calls on all Virgin Islanders, as well as visitors to the islands, to join him in observing the historic occasion of Maroon Day.