Carnegie Mellon University
June 08, 2022

CMU’s Juneteenth Freedom Day Keynote and Celebrations

Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon University Community:

Juneteenth, celebrated annually on June 19 since 1865, is a national holiday that marks the end of chattel slavery in the United States. It is also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Juneteenth Independence Day and Black Independence Day, and was first recognized as a federal holiday last year. On this day in 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. Although the Emancipation Proclamation came two and a half years earlier on January 1, 1863, many enslavers continued to hold enslaved Black people captive after the announcement, so Juneteenth became a symbolic date representing African American freedom. You can learn more about its origins here.

At Carnegie Mellon, we celebrate Juneteenth through empowerment, education and community-building. While the university is closed on June 20, 2022, in recognition of this national holiday, we continue our own tradition of gathering and growing together, understanding that we still need to live out our commitment to liberty and justice for all.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, with support from university leadership and partners, is proud to host and support a number of events in honor of Juneteenth, including a special keynote event with award-winning journalist Jamelle Bouie. More details about this and other events across campus are on the VP for DEI & CDO website.

Keynote Speaker Jamelle Bouie on June 17 from 12 - 1:15 p.m. streamed in Rangos and via Zoom

I will be moderating this year’s Juneteenth keynote event with award-winning New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie, who is also a political analyst for CBS News. He covers history and politics and is a writer, historian and accomplished journalist. Join us for this keynote event and conversation. Register here to attend in person or on Zoom.

Anti-Racism in Action Workshop on June 15 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. in Tepper 2611 (Limited Seating)

Join me and Mark D’Angelo from the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer for this engaging and interactive workshop exploring what it means to be anti-racist. Learn concepts, skills, and strategies to help translate your anti-racist beliefs and sentiments into action-oriented anti-racist allyship within the field of higher education and here at Carnegie Mellon. Registration is limited and open to all CMU community members.

First Annual Juneteenth Welcome Reception with Sankofa on June 16 from 4:30 - 6 p.m. in the Newell-Simon Atrium

Sankofa is a concept firmly rooted in the teachings of the Akans people of what is now present-day Ghana. Symbolized by a bird with its feet firmly planted forward with its head turned backward, its literal meaning is “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.” We are excited to partner with Sankofa, CMU’s Black Faculty and Staff Alliance, to kick off this time of remembrance and celebration to reinvigorate the power of our communal voice for freedom that is informed by the lessons of our past. More information is available on the VP for DEI & CDO website.

Jubilee on the Cut on June 17 at 4 p.m.

Following in the traditions of Juneteenth Freedom celebrations, the CMU Black Graduate Student Organization (BGSO) will host its third annual Juneteenth Jubilee. This celebration is open to all and features music, outdoor field games, food, giveaways and educational materials. More information is available on the VP for DEI & CDO website.

Additionally, this month, we also look forward to celebrating Pride festivities and uplifting our LGBTQIA+ communities. Stay tuned for more information about our community’s commemorative Pride events and activities!

It is my continued joy to celebrate and uplift Juneteenth with the CMU community. I look forward to seeing you at our events this month.


Wanda Heading-Grant
Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
Distinguished Service Professor, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy