Commemorating Juneteenth 2022

Dear members of the Bellarmine Community,

On Sunday, June 19, our nation will celebrate Juneteenth, the oldest African American holiday which commemorates the emancipation of the last enslaved African peoples in the Confederacy. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, declaring an end to slavery in rebellious states during the American Civil War. It was not until June 19, 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned the news.

Slavery was not abolished in the United States until the passing of the 13th amendment in 1865, and the state of Kentucky did not symbolically ratify the 13th amendment until 1976. The past that oftentimes seems distant, is nearer than we think. In the words of historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., “Juneteenth offers a chance for reflection on the past and consideration for the future. It asks, how can we celebrate those who came before us, overcoming incredible odds so that we can live the lives we live today, imperfect as they may be?”

As we prepare to celebrate this holiday, let us take time to reflect on what this holiday means to our country, our state, and to our city. Let this be opportunity to strengthen our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for our lives and community.

Several members of the Bellarmine community were invited to share some reflections about Juneteenth, as we prepare as a community for this significant day.

As a reminder, on the observance day of this federal holiday, Monday, June 20, the university will be closed and classes will not be held. Staff should track their time as ‘holiday’. As we continue to build our tradition of celebrating Juneteenth as a campus community, let us celebrate all that Juneteenth teaches us about community. Using our hearts to hear, to learn, and to work together for all that is good and just. 

On Juneteenth, we honor and celebrate the rich achievements of African Americans. We recognize the long journey for freedom and justice. We acknowledge that the journey continues, and we rededicate ourselves to the work towards a more equitable tomorrow.

Jakia Marie, Ph.D.
Interim Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

Leslie Maxie, Ph.D.
Interim Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer