University Recognizes Juneteenth as a Special Holiday

Juneteenth, celebrated each year on June 19, has been designated as a special holiday by St. John’s University. Via its official Instagram page (@stjohnsu), the University stated on June 17 that students are encouraged “to use this day to explore ways you can bring [their] time, treasure, and talents to bear in the pursuit of black liberation.” 

“From the time of their arrival up through and including today, Black people have endured injustices rooted in white supremacy and systemic racism, which continue to result in oppression, brutalization, and murder,” says the University on its official website. “It is clear that black liberation has not yet been attained, thus we must continue to fight for justice.”

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, as it was on June 19, 1865 that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that slaves were now free. Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day and Black Independence Day. 

This decision was announced on the same day that Juneteenth was recognized as a state holiday in New York, per an executive order issued on June 17 by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Those who are not required by their respective employers to work have the day off and are entitled to full pay, and those essential employees who are required to work receive one day of compensatory time. This includes the University, which was closed on June 19.

Virtual celebrations and events, as well as additional learning resources, have been provided via the University website for the celebration of Juneteenth. These events include:

  • “Juneteenth: Then and Now,” on June 19, the virtual #BHeard Town Hall, which will “look at the state of freedom in Black communities as they grapple with COVID-19, benign neglect, and state-sanctioned violence. Join us on YouTube Live as we bring together artists, activists, change makes and stakeholders for community and conversation.”
  • “Living History at Home Celebrating Juneteenth,” on June 19 at 1 p.m., which will show how to cook and plate food for Juneteenth celebrations, as well as provide traditional songs for the holiday. 
  • “The African American Art Song” at 7 p.m. on June 19 which will provide music via Facebook Live and feature appearances by acclaimed performers Patricia Pates Eaton and Susheel Bibbs.
  • The 11th annual Juneteenth Experience “Changing The Narrative By Creating Attributed on Community Healing”  which will occur on Saturday, June 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Artists across New York City will provide free entertainment celebrating Juneteenth.

For more information on the history and celebration of Juneteenth, visit this website, or go to the St. John’s website and view the resources provided.


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