University of Redlands Inaugural Juneteenth event brings awareness to campaign for national holiday

Why do we need to celebrate Juneteenth and why should we fight to make it a national holiday? Those questions and more will be answered during the University of Redlands Inaugural Juneteenth event June 15-17, 2021 at redlands.edu/juneteenth. This virtual event is free and open to the public.

“There are still a lot of people who are unaware of what Juneteenth is,” said Joy Clark, president of the Black Student Faculty Staff Administrator and Alumni (BSFSAA). “While it is part of our country’s history, it is not taught in schools. that is one of the reasons that this celebration is so significant, to teach others about Juneteenth, its history, and what it means.”

In addition to bringing awareness to the effort to make Juneteenth (June 19) a national holiday, the three-day experience will also explore many facets of Black history, Black art, and Black culture.  

“The entire celebration is a form of teaching and learning about history, and the need for change in the future,” said Tekia McNeil, chair of the Juneteenth Celebration. “As an instructional institution, we have the responsibility to teach the historic truth of Black and African Americans in history, and other cultural-related topics.”

Some of that history will be learned during an event highlight scheduled on June 16 when U of R Senior Diversity and Inclusion Office Christopher Jones, J.D. will interview Opal Lee, a social impact leader who at age 89 began her quest to make Juneteenth a national holiday with “Opal’s Walk 2 DC”. The interview will be followed by a live Q & A.

Other event sessions include: The History of Juneteenth, Collecting Oral Family History, Untold Stories of Black History in Redlands, How to Make it Home Safe, Health and Wellness, UoReal Talk, BlaQ Celebration and History, a virtual Black art museum, historical foods demonstration, and more. 

The Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration is presented by the U of R’s Black Student Faculty Staff Administrator and Alumni (BSFSAA) in collaboration with the Black Student Union (BSU) and Department of Campus Diversity & Inclusion (CDI).