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A Juneteenth Message

June 17, 2022

Dear Members of the Drexel Community,

As we continue the momentum of last week’s uplifting Commencement ceremonies, I want to take this moment to wish everyone in our community a happy and inspirational Juneteenth celebration of Black history, arts and culture, and empowerment, all of which are indispensable to our pursuit of a more just society in which everyone can flourish.

There will be no shortage of Juneteenth events, block parties, exhibits, discussions, and other festivities throughout Greater Philadelphia over the weekend to celebrate the end of chattel slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865. Nor is there a dearth of resources to learn more about this holiday and its enduring significance and relevance to our times. (One good resource is the National Museum of African American History & Culture/Smithsonian Juneteenth site.)

Juneteenth is more than a day for celebration and more than what it should have been many years ago -- a University and federal holiday. It is also a call for us to honor the Juneteenth spirit of freedom and justice for all throughout the year not only by educating ourselves further about Black history and achievements, but also by challenging the structures of racism by replacing them with structures and affirmations of antiracism.

The good news is, we have the ability to change the way we think and the way we act. That is why marshalling our intellectual and institutional resources toward achieving the goals of our Anti-Racism Task Force must remain an essential part of our work, individually and as a University community.

To honor the spirit of Juneteenth, we also should take every opportunity to get to know one another better, starting next week: Everyone is invited to a Juneteenth Block Party at the Rush Alumni Garden and Lancaster Walk next Wednesday, June 22, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Block Party is hosted by the Center for Black Culture (CBC), Black Employees at Drexel (BEAD), the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion (SCDI), the Center for Inclusive Education and Scholarship (CIES), LeBow BRIDGE, the Office of Equality and Diversity (OED) and the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.

In the meantime, Happy Juneteenth!

In community,

John Fry