Juneteenth: Delayed but not Denied
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
Like the notice of the Emancipation of slaves, the recognition of Juneteenth as an important marker in American history, came late, but is finally here. On June 19, 1865, two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the enslaved men and women in this country learned that they were now free. For centuries, June 19th, or Juneteenth as it is called, has been observed as a reminder of slavery’s past and a celebration of freedom.
On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to make Juneteenth a holiday for New York State employees. Not waiting to stop there, he said he will propose legislation to commemorate the day as an official state holiday next year.
Following Gov. Cuomo’s executive order declaring it a holiday for state employees, this afternoon Chancellor Matos Rodriguez shared that CUNY will be closed to commemorate Juneteenth. Tomorrow, for the first time, Juneteenth will be celebrated differently. Not just because of social distancing restrictions, but because of the consciousness in this country that has been awakened. It was awakened to by the voices across our nation and around the world that have cried out against racism and discrimination, and for justice and police reform, and in doing so, elevated Juneteenth from a time celebrated by a few, to a time recognized by all.
Tomorrow, in celebration of Juneteenth, not only will I pause in remembrance of slavery and emancipation, but I will walk in my community in recognition for the continued fight for equality and justice. Institutions of higher education are on the frontlines of this fight. I am proud to fight with you as we endeavor to educate students who are civically engaged, globally aware and respectful of diversity at Kingsborough and beyond.