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June 6, 2022

Dear members of the Tufts community,

I am excited to announce and invite you to our Juneteenth Observance Ceremony on Friday, June 17. A holiday that has been celebrated annually on June 19 by the Black/African-American community in the United States since 1865, Juneteenth marks the day when enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas were informed by Major General Gordon Granger of their freedom. This came almost two-and-one-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. In 2020, Tufts moved to annually observe Juneteenth. A year later, President Biden signed into law Senate Bill 475, making Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday. Since June 19 falls on a Sunday this year, Tufts will organize the Juneteenth Observance Ceremony on June 17 and will be closed to mark the holiday on Monday, June 20.

This year’s ceremony will be an opportunity for our community to commemorate the spirit and meaning of Juneteenth, reflect on the most impactful ways to address inequities, and be accountable to our antiracism commitments. To this end, we will be joined by guest speaker, Dr. Jelani Cobb. Dr. Cobb is familiar to many of us and served as our virtual keynote speaker at the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium. We are pleased to have the opportunity to welcome him to campus in person. Dr. Cobb is a renowned journalist and thought leader on the topics of race, history, politics, and culture in America, and is the incoming dean for Columbia’s Journalism School. He is currently the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and director of the Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights at Columbia, as well as a staff writer for The New Yorker. Dr. Cobb’s full biography can be found here.

Please join us in person in Distler Hall in the Granoff Music Center from 9 – 10:30 a.m. The ceremony will also be live streamed for those who are unable to attend in person. Please RSVP here.

The Coolidge Room will also be open from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. for the Tufts community to view the new Gerald R. Gill Papers Exhibit.

More information about Juneteenth and this year’s ceremony will be available via our diversity and inclusion website in the coming days. I look forward to honoring this holiday with you.

Best wishes,

Tony Monaco