Juneteenth: A Time to Reflect

June 18, 2020

Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

Over the past several weeks, we have witnessed an uprising in our country against the systemic racism and oppression experienced by the Black community. Protests have rippled across the nation and the globe, loudly demanding basic human rights of justice and equality. On the eve of Juneteenth, we are reminded that this same fight has been fought for generations before us. 

Tomorrow, June 19th, our country will observe Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, which commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. In the State of California, Juneteenth National Freedom Day is observed on the third Saturday in June. We want to use this occasion to reflect on where we have come from and where we need to go. It is clear that the institutionalized marginalization and mistreatment of the Black community that date back to our country’s founding still continue today with the same impunity.

Let us use this time to imagine a nation in which we break the current system and build one that upholds this truth – that we are all created equal and should be treated equally. We understand that we cannot simply say; we must do. As a campus community, we are dedicated to meeting this moment by learning from and listening to each other, and taking action to create a better and just future free of anti-Black racism. 

I encourage our community members to engage and learn about this significant day in our history, and I urge our faculty and managers to exercise maximum flexibility in allowing our students and staff colleagues to participate in various activities that have been organized. Together, our small steps will lead to larger action, which will propel a much-needed culture change. 

Sincerely,

Henry T. Yang
Chancellor