Dear UMBC Community,
As we continue to reflect on and learn about structural racism in America and on our campus, we encourage you to commemorate Juneteenth on Friday, June 19. Juneteenth honors the day in 1865 that Union soldiers arrived in Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that slaves were now free in the United States. This was two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The day is generally spent learning about our history, celebrating the resilience of the Black community, and exploring how to make change and move forward. The work that began more than 150 years ago to establish equality is far from over.
In partnership with institutions across the University System of Maryland, UMBC encourages faculty, staff, and students to take this opportunity to put our values into action by participating in Juneteenth events and/or increasing their personal knowledge through study and reflection. On Friday, June 19, beginning at 12 p.m, UMBC is offering administrative leave for the remainder of the day to accommodate this work. Please talk with your supervisor to coordinate coverage. Summer classes scheduled to be held after 12 p.m. will also be canceled in observance.
We also look forward to continuing the conversation tomorrow and moving to action during The Many Faces of Structural Racism: A Campus Conversation. Join us online at 4 p.m. for this session with several of UMBC’s top experts.
For those who wish to learn more, we are sharing resources on the history and context of Juneteeth:
- The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth (National Museum of African American History & Culture)
- Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day (Smithsonian Magazine)
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Anti-Racism: A List of Resources (PBS Social)
Finally, we want to share how proud we are of Debbie Buchanan '75, who is hosting a virtual celebration at the Sandy Spring Slave Museum tomorrow, and Malik Harris ’21, who has helped organize a Freedom Day March on Friday. In addition, there will be a Juneteenth March for Racial Equity in our neighboring communities of Arbutus and Halethorpe on Friday afternoon.
We appreciate the work of all our students, faculty, staff, and alumni who actively express our community values of inclusive excellence and social justice.
President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous