Celebrating Juneteenth at UAA and in the community

by Jennifer Booz, Chief Diversity Officer  |   

UAA celebrates Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a nationally recognized holiday providing Americans the opportunity to come together and celebrate the end of slavery and the common bond of freedom. Known by many names like Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Black Independence Day and Jubilee Day, UAA and the Anchorage community are preparing to commemorate this historically significant event.

While the official date is June 19, Anchorage's Juneteenth Citywide Celebration event is this Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19, from 1-6 p.m. on the Delaney Park Strip. The citywide event invites community members to enjoy food, vendors, activities and live entertainment under the sun and enjoy a special guest speaker, award-winning actor Travis Love, whose acting credits include blockbuster movies like Black Panther and the popular television series, The Walking Dead.

Juneteenth — joining June and nineteenth — represents a critical moment in U.S. history. On Jan. 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing enslaved people in rebellious, secessionist states. However, it took Union troops to enforce the new law as they slowly advanced across the south.

When they finally reached Texas (the last Confederate state with enslaved people), General Gordon Granger announced that slavery had been abolished. This declaration came on June 19, 1865, and freed the approximately 250,000 enslaved people in the state. People have been observing this day in various ways ever since. In 2021, President Biden established it as a federal holiday.

UAA is proud of our diverse community. We value the many perspectives, histories and voices of our Black faculty, staff and students. As we think about what this day means to us and our country, we know there is much more to be done: that freedom isn't yet fully realized for many. Occasions like this offer the chance to renew our ongoing commitment to equity. We invite you to celebrate this Juneteenth in the following ways.

However you choose to observe, reflect or celebrate — Happy Juneteenth!
Jennifer Booz
Chief Diversity Officer

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