President Marty Martin announced today that this Friday, June 19, will be an official holiday at Drake University so that the campus community can observe Juneteenth.
Read the full message below.
This Friday will mark the 155th celebration of “Juneteenth,” an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It was on June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln has issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
Iowa was the seventh state to officially recognize Juneteenth when then-Governor Tom Vilsack signed legislation on April 11, 2002, establishing the “Juneteenth National Freedom Day” as a state holiday. The celebration of this day in our state has been led by Iowa Juneteenth Observance. Drake University has been proud to work with the leadership of Iowa Juneteenth for many years to host and help sponsor its annual banquet. Although this year’s event will be a virtual celebration due to COVID-19, this will in no way lessen the spirit of reflection and celebration attending to this important day.
In observance of what Juneteenth commemorates and celebrates, in appreciation of our relationship with Iowa Juneteenth Observance, and in recognition of the renewed call for social justice in these United States, this Friday, June 19, will be an official holiday at Drake University. As such, the University will be closed and all Drake community members are encouraged to take time this Friday to reflect upon and celebrate Juneteenth. Here are some resources for your consideration: https://www.iowajuneteenth.org; https://www.naacpdesmoines.org; https://blacklivesmatter.com; https://www.aclu-ia.org/en/issues/criminal-justice-reform.