JUNE 16, 2021 — UTSA will host its annual Juneteenth Celebration via Zoom at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 17. This year’s event will feature a special message from Sen. John Cornyn regarding the importance of recognizing Juneteenth, as well as a performance by Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, the 2020-2023 Poet Laureate of San Antonio.
This annual event is hosted by the Student Union 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 (MSCEJ).
“Juneteenth is an amazing opportunity to celebrate and recognize our history, educate our community, and acknowledge the work we've still got to do,” said Vincent Perez, assistant director of the MSCEJ.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day and Liberation Day, is a holiday recognized annually on June 19 celebrating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. This date commemorates the anniversary of the announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas.
Mark Giles, professor of educational leadership and policy studies in the College of Education and Human Development, will dive into that history and the impact of Juneteenth during the virtual program. Students from UTSA lecturer Charles Gentry’s Introduction to African American Studies class will read General Order No. 3 and will share a class video prepared for the event. UTSA alumna Karrington Donald ’21 wrote and recorded the song “What I Am to Me” for students in the course to use as a soundtrack for the class project.
Following the brief program, there will be a panel discussion featuring special guests:
Dominique Foster, a UTSA student and peer facilitator with the MSCEJ, will serve as the host for the event. The entire UTSA community is invited to help celebrate Juneteenth during this virtual event and learn more about its importance.
“Juneteenth is a day that we continue to remember because of the footprint it has left in our [the African American community] continuing story,” Foster said. “We look at it as not only a reason to celebrate, but as a moment to remember where we came from. There is still a lot to be done, but I’m grateful for all that has come through."
Watch the Juneteenth livestream at 11 a.m. on June 17.
“Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. As this is a very important landmark in our history, this action, policy shift, aligns with UTSA’s Inclusive Excellence Initiative as UTSA seeks to embed practices, philosophies and policies that advance inclusive excellence,” added Myron Anderson, UTSA’s vice president of inclusive excellence. “UTSA does this work from an asset base perspective, promoting an environment of awareness and appreciation of multicultural perspectives, thus allowing all members of the organization to thrive.”
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