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Dear SDSU Community,

We were beyond appreciative to see President Joe Biden sign a bill recognizing June 19th as Juneteenth National Independence Day— a new U.S. federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Juneteenth acknowledges the courage and empowerment of the Black community. Also known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, Juneteenth has long commemorated the freedom of those forced into slavery. It was on June 19, 1865 that Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced that all enslaved people were freed, ending hundreds of years of traumatic exploitation. Shortly thereafter, the 13th amendment was ratified.

This day acknowledges the resiliency of Black people, who endured more than 400 years of slavery and have not allowed that painful history to detract from their success. This is a true testament of Black excellence. Juneteenth is a day of justice that celebrates the strength of the Black community and recognizes their impact in making America the nation that it is today.

Juneteenth is also a reminder that while we have made considerable progress as a nation over these 156 years, or two human lifetimes, we have far more to do. Much of the work still to be done: ensuring greater and more equitable access to economic and social opportunities, needed protections around civic engagement, and protections around the sanctity of life and quality of life, are each strengthened by education.

The State of California and the California State University system join us in celebrating the elevation of this day to a federal holiday, and will take action, working with the respective bargaining units, to implement this holiday into the calendar for our next academic year. We look forward to sharing this information with all students, faculty and staff as it is determined.

Nonetheless, for today, we invite you to register to attend the SDSU Juneteenth Celebration, to be held Saturday, June 19 from 9 a.m. to noon. During the event, Vice President J. Luke Wood, University History Curator Seth Mallios and anthropology students will host an open house at Palomar Mountain to celebrate the life of legendary African American San Diego homesteader Nathan "Nate" Harrison, who lived there after being born enslaved.

Yesterday’s action by our president is a historic one, and is in a long line of multi-generational steps to recognize the contributions, experiences, and courage of members of our Black community.

Adela de la Torre, Ph.D.
San Diego State University President

Salvador Hector Ochoa, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

J. Luke Wood, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity

Ashley Tejada
Associated Students President

Shawki F. Moore
Vice President of External Relations

 
 

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