Dear Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff Members,
Starting this year and continuing annually, we will observe Juneteenth as a school holiday. Juneteenth, is the holiday commemorating and celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. It marks the day – June 19, 1865, the day when news of the end of slavery finally reached the last remaining enslaved people in Galveston, Texas — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation decreed an end to slavery in the United States.
June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, but the school has set aside Friday, June 18, to honor Juneteenth. At noon on June 19, we ask that all alumni, students, staff, and faculty take 19-minutes to reflect on the meaning of Juneteenth and the current state of our nation.
Juneteenth offers an opportunity for the school to affirm its commitment to building a community of diversity and inclusion. Juneteenth is a day of reflection, and I’d like to ask everyone to dedicate some time to think about the evolving – and sometimes elusive – nature of freedom in our nation. This country is not perfect, but each of us has a duty and responsibility to work diligently to achieve, as the Constitution implores us to, a “more perfect union,” where intolerance doesn’t have a place, where equality has no bounds, and where justice plays no favorites.
The school’s continual search for solutions includes providing spaces where open dialogue can lead to informed action. Our Strategic plan calls for us to develop, support, and engage in initiatives and activities aimed at improving basic human rights and social issues. We believe this calls for a painstaking commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion for everyone.
This is the first year the school will mark Juneteenth as an official holiday, but it is more than a “day of celebration.” Instead, it is an opportunity to reflect on our shared history and the barriers that separate us from the more equitable and unbiased society we seek.
Dr. Ed D. Bolden