June 15, 2023

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

Hope, inspiration, and reflection on justice and freedom are hallmarks of Juneteenth, a federal holiday and a university holiday since 2022. This year, the university will be closed in honor of the holiday on Monday, June 19, for a day of remembrance and celebration.

On June 19, 1865, enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, were among the last to learn that slavery had officially ended in most of the United States, including Texas, almost two and a half years earlier with the Emancipation Proclamation. Black Americans have long commemorated and celebrated the date with readings, music, and family and community gatherings. Juneteenth is an important opportunity to remember the horrors of slavery, to acknowledge the ongoing struggle for equality, and to celebrate the joys of community. 

You can learn more about Juneteenth and explore events, resources, and media related to Juneteenth and the history of slavery and its enduring impact at Belonging at Yale - Focus on Juneteenth. I invite you to watch What Could Have Been, a short documentary on the defeated proposal in 1831 for a New Haven-based institution that would have established America’s first Black college, and to participate in one of several events presented by the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.

I hope you will take some time to share in the Juneteenth reflections and other activities that help us understand our history and inform our present and future.


Kimberly Goff-Crews
Secretary and Vice President for University Life