Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Juneteenth — Emancipation Day

June 15, 2023

Dear Brandeis Community,

We are looking forward to honoring Juneteenth next Monday. Also known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 each year to recognize the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States.

The origins of Juneteenth can be traced back to June 19, 1865. On that historic day, Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and issued General Order No. 3, officially proclaiming the end of slavery in Texas — one of the last remaining Confederate states to receive the news. This occurred more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued by President Abraham Lincoln.

Today, Juneteenth represents a significant milestone in the fight for freedom and equality. It symbolizes the resilience, determination and strength of African Americans who endured the hardships of slavery and the struggle for emancipation. It is a day to reflect on the progress made, celebrate African American culture and achievements, and to promote equality and justice for all. Moreover, Juneteenth is a day to celebrate the abolition of slavery in the United States, though it also reminds us of the myth of equality and unfulfilled promises.

By honoring Juneteenth, we acknowledge the importance of historical events and the ongoing fight against systemic racism and inequality. This observance provides an opportunity to learn about the struggles and triumphs of African Americans throughout history, and to foster dialogue, understanding and unity. While this is a day of celebration and reflection, it is also a day of rest. At Brandeis, it is a staff and faculty holiday and summer school classes will not meet as we mark the occasion.

For more resources on the history of Juneteenth and how to celebrate, visit:

Let's take time to celebrate Juneteenth with our family and loved ones as we stand together to recognize the significance of this day and continue working towards a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

With respect,

Habiba Braimah
Director, Intercultural Center

Lee Bitsóí
Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion