June 18, 2021

Dear Community,  

This Saturday, June 19, 2021, is Juneteenth: a holiday recognized by all but three U.S. states to celebrate the day that the last enslaved Black people were liberated in the United States in 1865. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee invites you to reflect on anti-Blackness in our history and our present day, and to actively engage in the work to end racism against Black people. We also invite you to think about and take action on how each of us can engage in authentic liberatory pedagogy and practice at CIIS and in our communities.   

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate Black joy! 

Beyond Juneteenth, there are many ways to show support for the Black community and to be inspired, including:  

Please see below for more learning resources and ways to celebrate Juneteenth this year.   

What is Juneteenth?   

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, marks June 19, 1865, the day that the formerly enslaved Black people in Texas found out that the country had ended slavery, and that they were officially and legally free. This date was a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. As Henry Louis Gates, Jr., wrote for The Root:   

Of all Emancipation Day observances, Juneteenth falls closest to the summer solstice (this Friday, June 21), the longest day of the year, when the sun, at its zenith, defies the darkness in every state, including those once shadowed by slavery. By choosing to celebrate the last place in the South that freedom touched—reflecting the mystical glow of history and lore, memory and myth, as Ralph Ellison evoked in his posthumous novel, Juneteenth—we remember the shining promise of emancipation, along with the bloody path America took by delaying it and deferring fulfillment of those simple, unanticipating words in Gen. Granger’s original order No. 3 that: “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”    

Read his full article, "What is Juneteenth?"

Explore Juneteenth, Texas, and its Black food traditions in the fourth episode of High on the Hog, now streaming on Netflix.

Watch this 2017 video from The Root This Is Why Juneteenth Is Important for America  

Attend one of these events in the Bay Area:

San Francisco
Oakland 

 Antioch 

San Jose 

Thank you,  

The ODI Advisory Committee  

Office of Diversity, Diversity and Inclusion Office

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