A Juneteenth message from Kimberly Goff-Crews, Secretary and Vice President for University Life

June 14, 2021

Updated - June 17, 2021

I am very pleased to update this statement based on today’s news that Congress has passed and President Biden has signed the bill declaring June 19 Juneteenth National Independence Day and a federal holiday. This historic and long-sought action recognizes the end of slavery in the United States and is the first new federal holiday since Mark Luther King, Jr. Day was established in 1983.

On June 19, 1865, the formerly enslaved Black people of Galveston, Texas were among the last people in our country to learn that they were freed from slavery. The news came almost two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had formally declared this freedom.

Juneteenth is traditionally a day of hope and inspiration – a second independence day - with music, readings, and gatherings that celebrate community and recognize the extraordinary contribution our Black brothers and sisters have made to American life. For many, it is also a time a reflection.

As we mark the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth on Saturday, I will take time to reflect on the pain and progress of the last several months, celebrate the contribution of so many members of our community who are helping us to do better, and recommit to the important work ahead as, together, we address inequity and racism. I hope you will join me.

Suggested resources for reflection and discussion can be found here.