Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill into law last month designating June 16 as an official state holiday, and CU Boulder recognizes the importance of the date, also known as Liberty Day, Jubilee, Liberation Day and the second day of independence.
Juneteenth recognizes and celebrates the freedom and self-determination of African Americans and the end of the Civil War. It also provides us all with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of our collective history as a nation. For some, this may mean attending a community or virtual event, listening to a podcast, reading, or having a conversation with classmates, colleagues, family, and friends.
African-American communities have celebrated June 19 for more than 150 years, marking the day Union Army General Gordon Granger read aloud the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865, in the city of Galveston,Texas. Galveston was one of the last places in the United States to learn of the proclamation’s passage. In fact, it took almost two and a half years for the proclamation to reach the far corners of the then 34-state union.
Many Americans have long advocated for a national holiday. On June 17, 2021, that vision became a reality when President Joe Biden signed a bill into law establishing June 12 as the nation’s 12th federal holiday and the first since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
“With a stroke of the pen, President Biden gave Juneteenth its well-deserved recognition as a momentous moment in American history,” CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano said after the president’s decision. “The stain of slavery will never be erased from our nation’s history. , but making June 19 a federal holiday allows all Americans to use June 19 as a day to reflect on the long road to emancipation and the brutal sacrifices it took to get there.
“As an educator, the holiday further inspires me and our campus to commit to anti-racism as a core part of teaching future generations about the struggles African Americans face and facilitating dialogue on campus and beyond about the hard work what’s left to do,” said the foreign minister.
Acknowledging Colorado’s decision to designate Juneteenth as a state holiday last month, Senior Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Sonia DeLuca Fernandez said, “Juneteenth is a remarkable celebration not only for the Black community but for all of us. Let us value American history. As a place for lifelong learning, CU Boulder has a responsibility to perpetually renew our commitment to freedom and justice, understanding the important legacies of both tragedy and triumph.”
Recognition of the day
Some Colorado communities have celebrated Juneteenth for decades, including in Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood since 1953 and at the annual Colorado State Fair Parade in downtown Pueblo, where Juneteenth royalty have waved from floats or convertibles. during the Holiday parades and the fair signing since the 1960s. and the civil rights era.
In 2022, some government offices will close on Monday June 20 to commemorate the June 16 holiday.
CU Boulder will remain open and classes will be held according to the academic calendar established for the summer of 2022. For fiscal year 2022, qualified university employees are eligible to take a day of personal observance to commemorate Juneteenth before December 31 in consultation with supervisors. Learn more about Juneteenth as a floating holiday and how it will affect the campus community.
Learn more about Juneteenth celebrations in Boulder and Denver. Members of the CU Boulder community will be in attendance at various community events, and students, faculty, and staff are invited to join in the celebrations.