Observing Juneteenth as One Community

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Beginning on June 1, and each day leading up to June 19, Syracuse University will commemorate Juneteenth, a significant day in American history. On June 19, 1865, Black men, women and children in Texas were finally notified of their liberty nearly two and a half years after enslavement had officially ended.

Juneteenth became a day of commemoration to honor the strength, resilience and perseverance of African Americans. While Juneteenth has long been celebrated in the Black community, some Americans are not aware of its significance and meaning.

This year, we will mark Juneteenth with 19 days of reflection. Each day, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, in partnership with Syracuse University Libraries, will share a unique learning opportunity. This 19-day observance will include a series of readings, lectures, videos and other content that will help our community learn about the Black experience leading up to and following Juneteenth. Every day, the content will be posted on diversity.syr.edu and on the office’s Instagram account, @Syracuseudiversity. We invite students, faculty and staff to engage in these 19 days of reflection.

Finally, please note, this year the University will officially observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 18. Administrative offices will be closed on that day in observance of Juneteenth. Our faculty and staff are urged to take the day to reflect on and participate in Juneteenth activities. Only employees who have been deemed essential to the continuation of University operations, such as critical student-facing roles, and those faculty teaching summer courses will report to campus. Due to previous changes in this year’s academic calendar because of the pandemic, classes scheduled for Friday, June 18, will go on as planned.

We encourage you to participate in the University’s Juneteenth observance. And, we hope you will continue to seek new knowledge, learn from those around you and effect meaningful change in your communities.


Keith A. Alford
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Andrew R. Gordon
Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer

John Liu
Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost