Virginia Tech stands in solidarity with the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as our faculty, staff, and students, to officially observe Juneteenth for the second time as a holiday.

Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, a moment that has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s.

The New York Times explains that on June 19, 1865, about two months after the Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, Gordon Granger, a Union general, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. That announcement put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued on Jan. 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln.

The holiday received its name by combining June and 19. The day is also sometimes called “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day,” or “Emancipation Day.”

Juneteenth is an opportunity for us to educate ourselves about our history, listen to and learn from others, and most importantly, determine what action Virginia Tech can take to create a community that is free of hate, violence, and racism as envisioned by our Principles of Community. Each member of the community is encouraged to take time over the next week to recognize Juneteenth by engaging in a purposeful discussion with your department, unit, co-workers, and colleagues. As part of the InclusiveVT commitment, the Office for Inclusion and Diversity has developed a guide and resources to assist you in creating this important conversation.

Learn more about what Virginia Tech is doing to commemorate Juneteenth.

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