Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community:
Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. While slavery had officially ended nearly two and a half years prior, it was not until June 19 of 1865 that those enslaved in Texas were notified of their liberty.
As our country continues to experience anti-Black racism and the fight for justice and equity for Black people that is long overdue goes on, we would like our campus community to reflect and commit to being a part of the change.
This Juneteenth, Friday, June 19, we ask our students, faculty and staff to take the day off and dedicate your time to the moment at hand, as well as the moments that have led us to this time. Though we know that some employees are working because they are essential to the continuation of services, we urge our campus community to embrace Friday as a time for reflection, education and action.
This Friday we should also be reminded of the continued outcries for justice, especially those from within our own communities. Juneteenth calls upon us to amplify Black voices and take action to rectify the wrongs of the past and together create a better future.
We ask that you reflect personally, that you seek new knowledge and that you talk with your families, friends and neighbors. We urge you to have uncomfortable conversations to foster greater understanding of the lived experiences of Black people and what you can do to create lasting change.
While we pause this Juneteenth, in the coming months, our university community will come together to determine how we will mark this important day in the years ahead.
Keith A. Alford, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Andrew R. Gordon, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
John Liu, Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost