This Saturday, June 19, we commemorate Juneteenth and the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth has been widely recognized and celebrated throughout the United States since June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed.
Earlier this week, the US Congress passed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Yesterday, President Biden signed it into law. June 19 is now officially Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US federal holiday.
At Antioch University we continue our commitment to fight systemic racism in all its forms and to celebrate the diversity of our students, staff, and faculty. Over the last half-century, many states and institutions have acknowledged and celebrated the historical significance of June 19. It is now our honor to join our nation in joyful recognition of this important date. I am pleased to share the news that I have approved the inclusion of Juneteenth as an official Antioch University Holiday effective immediately. This year, because of the need to coordinate classes, programs, and operations when an additional day off is instituted, we will celebrate Juneteenth on Friday, July 2. Let’s make this a day of reflection, volunteerism, education, and activism to commemorate the end of slavery in the US.
Our work towards racial equality in this nation and at Antioch is far from complete. We continue taking steps to identify and change the practices, structures, behaviors, and beliefs that perpetuate systemic racism and invidious discrimination against Black people and all marginalized people in our society. I encourage you to be active in this struggle for equality by addressing issues of systemic racism and racial injustice, developing an anti-racism lens, participating in anti-racism activities, talking with your friends and colleagues, and supporting efforts to advance racial justice. I also encourage you to participate in the activities hosted virtually by our campuses and in our programs throughout the rest of this week to mark this important date.
I look forward to our ongoing engagement in this work, and I will continue to learn from your perspectives. I appreciate all you are doing to achieve a more socially just world for all.