Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure that the last of the African Americans who were still enslaved by the Confederacy were freed. This took place on June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Short for “June nineteenth,” Juneteenth became a federal holiday in in 2021. Starting this year, it will be a recognized holiday by the California State University, and Cal Poly Pomona will be closed on Monday, June 19.
The day offers an opportunity for joy, celebration and community through food, music and sharing stories, according to Presidential Associate for Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Cindy Pickett.
“Juneteenth is a celebration of the resilience of Black Americans and a commemoration of their fight to be recognized as citizens,” she said.
Juneteenth is also a time for reflection. “The impact of slavery is still being felt,” Pickett said. “We still live in a world where racial inequality and anti-Black racism limit opportunities for Black Americans. We need to continue identify and eradicate those barriers.”
The Black Thriving Initiative (BTI) aims to address inequities and anti-Blackness as existential threats to the mission of Cal Poly Pomona, and to create the conditions in which all community members — including Black students, faculty and staff — can heal and thrive. The co-chairs of the initiative are Jonathan Grady, senior associate vice president and dean of students, and Teshia Roby, associate vice president of learning and research, as well as Cindy Pickett. In the upcoming year, BTI will offer programming that all members of the campus can take part in.
Last June, Cal Poly Pomona hosted a hybrid event on campus and Zoom, which inspired action and a commitment to change. The CSU also hosted an inaugural biennial symposium, which you can watch online. The next one will take place in 2024 at Sacramento State.
Here’s a list of ways to honor the day and what it stands for:
- Attend the Pomona Valley Juneteenth Jazz and Arts Festival on Saturday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Ganesha Park. Sponsored by the Juneteenth Education Technology Mobile Arts Center, the free event will feature live music, poetry, food and more.
- Participate in “Understanding and Confronting Anti-Black Racism,” an online workshop that is part of the Racial Equity Leadership Alliance, a CSU program led by the USC Race and Equity Center. The two-hour session will take place on June 20 at 10 a.m. It will be led by Frank Harris, a professor of postsecondary education and co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab at San Diego State University. Register online.
- Read the 2023-24 Common Read, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” by Heather McGhee. Take part in the forthcoming campus book club and events.
- Check out the University Library Ethnic and Women’s Studies Juneteenth Resource Guide and Book List.
- Reflect on what role you might play in contributing to an upward trend. As Senior Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Jonathan Grady stated at last year’s event, “I have the utmost confidence that our brilliance, innovation, commitment to care and magic as a university will pave the way for a better and more just tomorrow. Ask yourself what you will do to commit to the change.”