Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day and Black Independence Day, celebrates the official end of slavery in the United States. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that freed all slaves in 1863, but many slave owners continued to hold their slaves captive after the decree. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas received the news from Union soldiers that both the Civil War and slavery had ended.
Although Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, we know that Black Americans have not experienced freedom from oppression, discrimination, and various forms of covert and overt racism. These social ills have plagued our country since the beginning and have most recently manifested in acts of racial injustice, police brutality, and murder of Black Americans.
In this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, Mary Baldwin University commemorates this day of progress while acknowledging that our society has much work to do to truly embody inclusion, equity, respect, and love for underserved and marginalized communities. We challenge members of the MBU community to evolve allyship to active advocacy for social justice. Reflect not only on ways that you have contributed to systems of power, privilege, and oppression but in what ways you can play an active role dismantling these systems in our campus community and beyond. Seek to deepen your knowledge about social issues and enhance your cultural competencies. Be vulnerable and engage in difficult conversations with those around you about recent events, the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the pervasiveness of white privilege.
We as an institution pause today to reaffirm our commitment to cultivating and sustaining an inclusive environment not only in word, but in deed. Below you will find some additional information that can facilitate a better understanding of Juneteenth and the social issues currently happening in our nation.
Dr. Pamela R. Fox, President, Mary Baldwin University
Dr. Ernest Jeffries, Vice President, Student Engagement
Dr. Ty Buckman, Vice President, Academic Affairs
Dr. Deb Greubel, Vice President Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences
Dr. James McCoy, Vice President, Enrollment Management
Chuck Davis, Vice President Advancement & Alumni Engagement
Aimee Rose, Vice President, Integrated Communications
Terry Djuric, Senior Advisor to President and VWIL Commandant
Tressa Ries, Associate Vice President, Business & Finance