Utica College to Recognize Juneteenth as College Holiday

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Offices to be Closed Friday in Observance of Freedom Day

Utica College will, for the first time, recognize Juneteenth as a college holiday. The announcement to faculty and staff was made in a letter from President Laura Casamento last Friday.

June 19 has traditionally been recognized as Freedom Day, commemorating that date in 1865 when Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free.

“This need for change – for recognition of the inequities that have long stood in our world – have reinforced the need for deep self-reflection about our nation’s long and turbulent history and how we move forward,” Casamento said.

“This does not repair the centuries of harm that has been wrought on Black and Brown communities. But it allows us the opportunity to better appreciate a struggle that has occurred for far too long and to reflect and find ways in which we can better ourselves, our College community, and the world for those whose voices have frequently gone unheard,” she said.

Anthony Baird, the college’s inaugural vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, said the college is committed to continuing to have conversations and discussions that elevate understanding and allow the UC community to be leaders and catalysts of change within society.

It will be a recognized college holiday going forward, he said.

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