Juneteenth now a federal holiday

by Sean Parnell, UAA Chancellor  |   

Dear UAA Community,

Yesterday, President Biden signed a bill passed by Congress declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday. June 19 will now be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day. The holiday celebrates the full enforcement of President Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freeing those in slavery. The proclamation was not enforced in the territory of Texas until almost two and a half years later, prompting the annual Juneteenth celebration.UAA is committed to a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion, and I am proud to learn that UAA has celebrated Juneteenth’s significance for many years.

While we commemorate the end of slavery, we also acknowledge our country’s painful history and the ongoing struggles of oppressed and persecuted peoples today. We recognize the importance of engaging in constructive dialogue about how we can continue to foster a more equitable environment for all. We also value our mission as a higher education institution to promote civic engagement and uphold equality within our campus community.

I encourage you to learn more about the history of Juneteenth. One way you can celebrate this important holiday is to join the UAA Student Activities team in the Juneteenth Citywide Celebration at the Northway Mall tomorrow.

I am proud of the steps UAA has taken to promote an inclusive and welcoming learning environment, and I am honored to help continue that important work. I hope you all have a great weekend and join me in celebration and reflection.

Sean Parnell
UAA Chancellor

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