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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Annual Juneteenth commemoration at UTSA to be streamed virtually

Annual Juneteenth commemoration at UTSA to be streamed virtually

JUNE 17, 2020 — June 19 will commemorate 155 years since Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with General Order No. 3 announcing all enslaved people in Texas were free.

The Student Union at UTSA in collaboration with the African American Studies program in the Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Multicultural Student Center for Equity and Justice are recognizing the important moment in history by hosting the annual Juneteenth: Celebrate Liberation event on Friday, June 19 at 11 a.m. via Zoom.

“Juneteenth is a celebration held by African Americans on June 19 each year. This is the day in 1865—2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863—that the slaves in Texas learned of their freedom,” said Karla Broadus, director of African American Studies at UTSA. “Slaves were asked to remain quietly in their current homes and work for their former owners. Many slaves moved on to Free Black Settlements, which in Texas totaled about 550 between 1865 and 1920.”


“It is important for students and the community to learn about Juneteenth because it is U.S. and Texas history.”



This year’s event will feature a special message from UTSA students and staff as well as a live poetry reading by Christopher Michael Brown, a Texas Poet Laureate nominee and a National Poetry Slam finalist.

Following the short program, there will be a panel discussion featuring special guests:

  • Honorable Judge Stephanie Boyd, Bexar County 187th Criminal District Court
  • Charles Gentry, Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Byron Miller, San Antonio’s Juneteenth commissioner
  • Priscilla Okolie, Black Student Union president

“I’ve always loved to learn from other people. I think sitting on a panel is not only the best place to learn from my peers but to learn more about myself,” Okolie said. “Recognizing Juneteenth also means recognizing all the Black American students on this campus. At times, existing at an HSI as a Black person can be isolating. Having an event such as this one helps to alleviate that.” 

All of the UTSA community is invited to help celebrate this historical event and its importance, Broadus said. 


Watch the Juneteenth livestream on June 19 at 11 a.m.

“It is important for students and the community to learn about Juneteenth because it is U.S. and Texas history, which is the center of why we even have the celebration,” Broadus said. “Far too many do not understand that for the former slaves to celebrate Juneteenth in many instances they had to purchase the land by earning money for the celebrations. This sparked African American land ownership in Texas that is not widely known. Juneteenth represents a historical, cultural, economic, social and geographic wealth of information that UTSA as an academic pillar of the community is expected to disseminate.”

Valerie Bustamante



UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.