Dear College of Education Community:
On June 19 we celebrate Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, issued two-and-a-half years earlier, was put into effect in Texas and all slaves were freed. As we mark Juneteenth 155 years later, we do so amid a national crisis and an ongoing struggle for equity, racial justice, and full recognition that Black Lives Matter.
So, I encourage you, our College of Education family, especially those of us not confronted with the daily oppression of racism, to take time this Friday to reflect on our nation’s history and the continuing processes and consequences of systemic racism and how it permeates our communities, as well as the changes that are necessary for us to become an anti-racist college. Some recommendations include
- engaging in activities and events to commemorate Juneteenth, such as Organizing Together North Carolina’s Juneteenth Celebration: Recommitting to the Work of Justice;
- watching these videos that explain why we celebrate Juneteenth: “This is Why Juneteenth is Important to America” and “Juneteenth: Freedom at Last”;
- watching the PBS Frontline episode “A Class Divided”; or
- reading Ibram X. Kendi’s How To Be An Anti-Racist, Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Ijeoma Olou’s So You Want to Talk About Race, or Beverly Daniel Tatum’s Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
While this Juneteenth is not filled with celebration for the progress that has been made, it can be a time of hope for the monumental shift that has been ignited in the United States. It also can be a marker for our college’s next phase as we intensify our mission to advance racial equity and justice and work to eliminate racial biases in our daily lives, classrooms, schools, counseling centers and communities.
Mary Ann Danowitz, D.Ed.
Dean, NC State College of Education