The CUNY community will observe Juneteenth as a holiday tomorrow, Friday, June 19, 2020. All offices will be closed to mark the 155th anniversary of the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. The action approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees (click here to read the resolution) today follows Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order yesterday declaring it a holiday for state employees.
Letter from CUNY’s Chancellor, Felix Matos Rodriguez:
Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when word of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed two years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln, finally reached slaves in Texas. It is an observance that today carries the renewed weight of history as the country reckons with the anguish of racism and persistent racial injustice.
This is a day for all of us to contemplate the structural and societal forces that make the freedom of African American people still fundamentally incomplete. If slavery is America’s original sin, its modern-day equivalent is that we still live in a country where it needs to be said that Black Lives Matter.
The City University of New York was established 16 years before the Emancipation Proclamation and the modern CUNY grew out of the decades after World War II when the struggle for racial equality and justice became a steady undercurrent in American society. CUNY, with its historic mission of diversity, inclusion, opportunity and social justice, has always forged a place in this battle.
I hope that everyone in the CUNY community — students, faculty, staff, and campus leadership — spends some time tomorrow thinking about the meaning of this day. All of us have the obligation to help make change, whether through structural remedies or small acts in our daily lives. We must keep working to confront the past and create a more just and equitable future.