Utah State University will offer a series of events June 14-19 to honor the Juneteenth celebration at Utah State University. The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Educate, Celebrate, Activate.”
USU’s Juneteenth celebration was organized by the Black Student Union, the Graduate Students of Color Association, USU Athletics and the Inclusion Center. Graduate students Jamal-Jared Alexander and Amand Hardiman are leading the effort to organize Juneteenth events, which will culminate in a Unity Barbecue on Saturday, June 19, on the Logan campus.
“There will be a variety of events and activities to increase awareness of Juneteenth as well as to empower and energize our community to stand in solidarity with communities who are still struggling for true equality and freedom,” said Alexander, doctoral candidate in technical communication and rhetoric.
Learn more about all Juneteenth events and register for the barbecue at https://www.usu.edu/inclusion/juneteenth.
Juneteenth – also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and Liberation Day –honors and commemorates the final day Black and African Americans were informed of their freedom from chattel slavery. Abraham Lincoln declared the end of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, and the Thirteenth Amendment was signed into law in March of 1865. However, it was not until June 19, 1865, that word of this reached Galveston, Texas, when the Confederacy announced the end of slavery. This day came to be recognized as a day of commemoration and celebration of freedom. Juneteenth serves to recognize the injustice and inhumane treatment of enslaved people while educating individuals and communities.
While Juneteenth is the oldest celebration commemorating the end of slavery, it wasn’t until 1980 that Texas officially recognized it as an official state holiday. Today, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or as a day of observance. Yet, extraordinary activists like Ms. Opal Lee are working diligently to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
“We are honored that Ms. Lee, at 94 years young and known as the ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth,’ will join us virtually to discuss the significance of Juneteenth and the current efforts to make it a national holiday,” said Amand Hardiman, a third-year doctoral student in human development and family studies studying a sense of belonging through USU’s Families in Sport Lab. “We invite everyone in our campus, local and state communities to join us for this incredible opportunity to recognize Juneteenth at Utah State University.”
Through the Juneteenth events, USU will honor current and former Black alumnae such as the Ms. Mignon Barker Richmond, a prominent woman and community leader, who spent a lifetime as a human rights activist and was the first African American graduate of a Utah university. Since the 1960s, USU courses have emphasized the fulfillment of the lofty goals of the preamble to the Constitution, "We the People." Recently, the citizens of Utah recognized the ongoing importance of freedom when they passed Proposition C during the 2020 election. This formally removed the reference to servitude from the state codes.
USU’s Juneteenth activities are sponsored by the Office of the President, USU Athletics, USU Inclusion Center, the Latinx Cultural Center, the Center for Intersection Gender Studies and Research and University Marketing and Communications.
Associate VP of Strategic Communications
University Marketing and Communications