President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., Delivers Message on Juneteenth
Dear SJU Community,
Today we recognize Juneteenth, commemorating the day that news of the Emancipation Proclamation – passed more than two years prior and freeing all slaves – finally reached slaves in Galveston, Texas. Some members of our community may not be aware of this important moment in our history and, given our attention to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, I think it is critical that we continue to raise awareness and seek to continually broaden our knowledge and understanding of racism and structural inequality.
You may know that I admire Abraham Lincoln, summoning his words in my inaugural address and naming our strategic plan for a favorite quote. I have referred to him often when considering how we manage change while remaining clear minded about our mission and values. The words of the Emancipation Proclamation remain relevant today, especially against the backdrop of recent events in our country, with Lincoln’s call to “recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons” and “do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”
We must acknowledge the reality that freedom remains relative in our society. It is not a given for everyone. And those of us to whom this basic right comes have an obligation to support and work to ensure its availability to all.
In keeping with our educational mission, I encourage all of you to take full advantage of our learning opportunities and resources. Nicole Stokes, Ph.D., associate provost for diversity, equity and inclusion, has prepared a number of resources for our continued education on Juneteenth Day and beyond. I want to point specifically to our June 24 Unlimited Learning Series on Structural Inequality in Philadelphia to promote participation, and I recommend reviewing the Library’s list of books for talking about racism with children.
Mark C. Reed, Ed.D.