June 18, 2021

Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

It has been more than a year since George Floyd was tragically murdered at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer and the Black Lives Matter movement shook the world, calling attention to the systemic racism and oppression experienced by the Black community. Together, we have demanded justice and a future where racial equality and social justice are not ideals, but the norm. As a direct result of last year’s massive social movement, this week we have witnessed a step forward for our country.  

Yesterday, U.S. President Joe Biden established Juneteenth, the June 19th commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, as a federal holiday. And just today, UC President Michael Drake announced Juneteenth as a new UC holiday, which will be observed this year on Monday, June 28. Starting in 2022, UC will celebrate the Juneteenth holiday according to the federal calendar.  

I encourage us to use this time to remember and reflect on our country’s history, the institutional racism inherited by each generation, and the continued fight for justice and equality for all. As a university responsive to the needs of our society, working to address anti-Black racism starts right here at UC Santa Barbara with each of us. By listening to and learning from each other, we have the power to choose and change our future. 


Henry T. Yang