On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and announce that the Civil War had ended and enslaved peoples had been freed. The commemoration of their arrival a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, Juneteenth, has become the oldest nationally celebrated remembrance of the cessation of slavery in the United States.
Today, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, recognizing the commemoration as a federal holiday for the first time. Recognizing Juneteenth is very important, and while it falls on a Saturday this year, we will continue to have the university open until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, in alignment with our summer schedule. With this historic action taken by President Biden and the United States Congress this afternoon, there was not enough time for us to suspend the university’s operations and classes tomorrow. However, at my direction we will add an additional holiday closure date to the alternative holiday schedule this year, which will soon be determined and communicated to the university community. The University of Northern Colorado will begin officially recognizing Juneteenth in 2022.
I hope that you will join me in learning about the history of slavery in our country and reflecting on the dissonance between the stain of slavery and our nation’s principles of equality. I encourage you to consider ways that we can individually and collectively honor our university community’s commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, enlightenment, and justice this Juneteenth and in the years that follow. To learn more about Juneteenth and for information about local Juneteenth celebrations, visit our Office of Equity and Inclusion webpage.
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and
Chief Diversity Officer