write today to share with you our excitement that this week both
the state and federal government officially declared June 19 a
holiday in observance of Juneteenth.
timing of the bills creating the holiday does not allow time to
officially observe Juneteenth as a campus holiday this year.
However, we encourage all members of the NIU community to seek out
celebrations of this important day in their own communities. In
DeKalb, the NIU Center for Black Studies will join New Hope Baptist
Church in hosting DeKalb�s first Juneteenth Community Celebration, from noon until 5 p.m., at
1015 Blackhawk Road, in DeKalb.
the days ahead, NIU will consider how best to incorporate this
celebration as a holiday in the official university
is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of
slavery in the United States. The day was first celebrated in
Galveston, Texas, in 1866 to mark the day one year earlier when
Union soldiers landed there, bringing the news that the Civil War
had ended and that African Americans were no longer legally
enslaved. To African Americans, June 19 is Emancipation Day, and it
has been part of many African American family traditions throughout
the United States for 155 years, especially in states like Texas.
Juneteenth has come to symbolize a national day of freedom to
African Americans in the same way that July Fourth symbolizes
freedom for all Americans. It is a day to celebrate the triumph of
the human spirit.
the signing of this bill in 2021 is important and cause for joy, we
know that we have more to do beyond this celebration. We must
confront the legacy of slavery in America and continue to make
strides toward co-creating a community of belonging where all
people are treated with humanity and dignity.
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Interim
Chief Human Resources Officer