Juneteenth is an annual U.S. holiday that is receiving even greater attention this year following the nationwide protests over racial inequity and injustice. Juneteenth, is essentially a blend of the words June and nineteenth and it was created to honor the end of slavery in the United States. It marks the day in 1865 that Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas, and informed the slaves that the Civil War had ended and slavery was abolished.
This year it offers us a unique opportunity to continue to learn, connect with each other, and reflect on how we can move forward and achieve permanent and lasting change throughout our institutions and society.
As such, the University will close on Friday in recognition of our commitment to align our words with actions and to act in solidarity towards this greater good. Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to find moments of clarity, connection, and community.
I hope you might use some of this time to reflect, learn, and support each other. I encourage us to prayerfully reflect on the significance of this day or even join in a healing practice such as:
- Participating in the Prayer Vigil on Troost from on Friday from 7-8 pm. Here is the link with information on the Prayer Vigil on Troost, https://www.prayontroost.org
- Taking part in the Nelson Atkins virtual Juneteenth: Coming Together Exhibit or the many other activities being sponsored by Juneteenth-KC.com and in your communities: https://nelson-atkins.org/nelson-atkins-at-home/juneteenth/ or
- Participating in the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Juneteenth Prayer Service at the Motherhouse in St. Louis at 11 am in the courtyard. While I wouldn’t expect to be present physically, you can be present virtually through Zoom access to the prayer service. They would be delighted if you join by Zoom. Here is the access to the Zoom prayer service: https://zoom.us/j/94164976840, Meeting ID: 941 6497 6840
I hope this day will engage, inspire you, and fortify you.
Ronald A. Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA