June 19, 2020
June 19 marks a pivotal event in our country’s history. While the Emancipation Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863, many enslaved Africans lived in states where slavery continued or where they did not know that they were free. On June 19, 1865, Union Major General Gordon Granger informed more than 250,000 slaves in Texas that they were free. The now annual celebration of Juneteenth began a year later on June 19, 1866.
Also known as “Freedom Day,” “Emancipation Day” or “Jubilee,” Juneteenth is one of our country’s oldest celebrations of the abolition of slavery, but not every American is familiar with the observance. This year, I’m hopeful that many more people in our UC San Diego community will take the opportunity to learn more about Juneteenth and explore the history and meaning of this annual event. Although Juneteenth is not a federal holiday, most states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation recognizing it as a holiday or observance. California recognizes the third Saturday of June in each year as Juneteenth National Freedom Day: A Day of Observance.
To learn more about Juneteenth, visit the National Museum of African
American History and Culture at
Today, I encourage everyone at UC San Diego to take time to reflect on our country, its treatment of black people, and to consider how our UC San Diego commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion can help unite our diverse society to explore and find solutions to end systemic racism and anti-blackness.
I wish you all a meaningful Juneteenth observance.