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June 19
Juneteenth

Dear HNU community,

On June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation two years after it had been issued by President Lincoln. Black Americans have celebrated this day for over 150 years. June 19, now known as Juneteenth, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

As more people awaken to the unbearable pain and loss that systemic racism has meant for Black lives and for society, this year’s celebration holds special significance. Just as it is an occasion for remembrance and celebration, Juneteenth is also a day for action and education.

Since we cannot honor this occasion in person, I propose that the HNU community take time to reflect, connect, and learn between the hours of noon and 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. I plan to take this time to examine my role in systemic racism, and continue my work exploring what it means to be an anti-racist, particularly as it applies to my role as President of this university. I encourage all of our colleagues, including those who do not identify as Black, to commemorate this day in a way that moves us forward. I know that some of you will be hard at work hosting Hawk Day for our incoming students. I want to thank you and encourage you to take this time for yourselves the next time you are able.

I look forward to gathering as a campus community, be it virtually or in person, to continue our dialogue about creating and sustaining an anti-racist campus. My Cabinet, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and I are working to provide us these opportunities during the fall semester. For those of you who would like to take part in Juneteenth celebrations, here are a few suggestions from our local media outlets:

14 Juneteenth events around the SF Bay Area (East Bay Times)
Juneteenth 2020: How to celebrate virtually in the Bay Area (SF Chronicle)

HNU’s Black Student Union will be joining a Ride Out at Oakland’s Juneteenth at the Lake protest and celebration tomorrow. They meet at the Lake Merritt Sailboat House at noon and welcome their HNU community to join them on foot or on horseback. Their presence and action make me proud.

Sincerely,

Mike Groener
President, Holy Names University