Carnegie Mellon University

Wanda Heading-Grant, Syl Smith, Farnam Jahanian, Melvin Hubbard El, Darrell Baltimore at Juneteenth welcome reception

June 23, 2022

Sankofa Celebrates Juneteenth

The Sankofa — Black Faculty and Staff Alliance, in collaboration with the School of Computer Science and the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, held a Juneteenth Welcome Reception on June 16 in the Perlis Atrium, Newell-Simon Hall. Sylvia Smith, Sankofa co-lead, began the ceremony by introducing herself and her fellow co-lead, Darrell Baltimore. Vocalist Faith Otey led the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," followed by numerous remarkable speakers:

  • Farnam Jahanian, university president
  • Brother Melvin Hubbard El, representative from Mayor Gainey’s office
  • Rev. Dr. Jonathon Counts, pastor, Homewood African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
  • Dr. Wanda Heading-Grant, vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer
  • Dr. Byron Martin, associate vice provost, Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
  • Professor Matthew Johnson-Roberson, director, Robotics Institute.

The evening was capped off with friends, allies and supporters enjoying delicious food as they built relationships in the celebration of Juneteenth.

Farnam Jahanian and Syl Smith at Juneteenth Welcome Reception

President Farnam Jahanian, one of the event's speakers, poses with Syl Smith, co-lead of the Sankofa — Black Faculty and Staff Alliance.

Byron Martin speaking during Juneteenth Welcome Reception

Dr. Byron Martin, assistant vice provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, was one of the event's speakers.

Syl Smith and Darrell Baltimore at the Juneteenth Welcome Reception

Syl Smith and Darrell Baltimore are co-leads of Sankofa — Black Faculty and Staff Alliance.

Cookies printed with Sankofa symbol of a bird with its head turned backward, feet facing forward and carrying an egg in its mouth

Guests were treated to cookies decorated with the Sankofa bird, which symbolizes reaching to the knowledge gained in the past in order to make positive progress in the future.

Table with raffle prizes

Seven prizes were raffled off during the event, including books and CMU swag.