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Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is a holiday commemorating when, on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, thus abolishing enslavement in the United States.

Adelphi first recognized Juneteenth in 2020 by providing all employees with a paid day off. The University continued this approach in 2021.

This year, Adelphi will be closed to commemorate Juneteenth. Classes will not be held, and employees will have a paid day off. (As the day falls on a Sunday this year, Adelphi will observe the holiday on Friday, June 17.)

According to Jacqueline Jones LaMon, JD, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, “Adelphi University recognizes and supports the significance of this state and federal holiday. It is important that our entire community has the opportunity to engage in meaningful activities with peers and colleagues on our campus, while also providing dedicated time to commemorate the day with family and community. That’s why this year our Juneteenth holiday closure will be observed on Friday, June 17; our campus activities will take place on Monday, June 20, and are open to all.”

When campus reopens on Monday, June 20, all members of the Adelphi community are welcome to join the Center for African, Black and Caribbean Studies and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University’s first Juneteenth commemoration and barbecue.

“We will recognize Juneteenth with fellowship among our Adelphi community,” said Chotsani Williams West, MA ’07, executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion. “We are delighted to collaborate with our amazing partners in the Center for African, Black and Caribbean Studies to hold this event that reflects on our past and to celebrate freedom, while recognizing that there is still progress to be made. ”

The Juneteenth program—a hybrid event—begins at 3:00 p.m. in the Ruth S. Harley University Center with a special presentation, songs and poetry about the significance of Juneteenth.

At 6:30 p.m., West said, “we will enjoy a traditional barbecue and include red foods and beverages such as fruit, cake and red soda. The red-colored foods signify the vibrancy of the Black experience and acknowledge Africans coming through [Galveston], which is the last city for the slave trade after the Civil War and the location to which historians attribute the start of Juneteenth.

“Guests will view a film with an inspiring plot about the history of Juneteenth and how celebratory events take place in a rural Southern town,” she continued. “I do not want to give it all away—so we invite everyone to join us to find out more!”

Todd Wilson
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