This month, Colorado officially recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday. This marks an important step in our journey to celebrate the great diversity of our state and show our commitment to equity and inclusion both here at CU and across Colorado.
Juneteenth, or June 19, marks the date in 1865 when word finally reached communities of enslaved people in Texas that the Civil War had ended and they were freed from slavery. This was nearly two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery.
For Black Americans, Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and a day of independence. It’s also an important step in our continuous journey for racial and social justice in the United States – one we can all learn from. The federal government designated Juneteenth as a national holiday last year. The university supports the recognition of Juneteenth.
Given the proximity of the holiday to our existing summer academic calendars, the university has decided to give employees an additional holiday this year as a paid personal day of observance that they can take on Juneteenth or another day of their choosing. Campuses will follow up with additional information about Juneteenth, and in the months ahead our campuses and the system office will determine how to implement this additional holiday in the years to come.
Recognizing holidays is an important step toward advancing our mission to be an inclusive and equitable institution and achieving the kind of transformational change we all want. We still have much work to do to create an environment where everyone is included, valued, and respected.
Chancellor, CU Anschutz Medical Campus
Chancellor, CU Boulder
Chancellor, CU Denver