Message from the President: Celebrating Juneteenth
Dear UHD Community,
This year’s observance of Juneteenth is one of historic and special significance, as one year ago President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that established June 19 as a Federal holiday.
It was on June 19, 1865 (two years following President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation), that Union troops landed in Galveston, Texas, and informed its Black residents that they were free from slavery. It represented an important turning point in our country's history – just 50 miles from UHD.
Now more than ever, it’s important that we recognize the significance of Juneteenth and what it means to all Americans as well as our Campus Community.
Our city will hold events for all Houstonians to celebrate the importance of this day. As the leader of an institution of higher education, I also invite you to seek out our campus resources to embrace, educate, and explore Juneteenth’s significance. The W.I. Dykes Library has a wealth of materials available to students, faculty, and staff. UHD’s Center for Diversity & Inclusion and the Center for Critical Race Studies also are great resources.
Juneteenth marked a new beginning for our nation, but as evidenced with ongoing overt acts of discrimination, struggles persist for so many Americans of color. As a community, we have the potential to consequentially impact our communities. Together, we can all be part of a continued movement toward justice and hope.
Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown