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Ohio University to commemorate Juneteenth with community events

Published: May 20, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University will host its first annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 19, with community events scheduled throughout the day for the OHIO community. 

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 every year. Long celebrated by the African American community, this historical day is mostly unknown to many Americans. 

According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Juneteenth marks the day when 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to free more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state on June 19, 1865. This occurred two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect on Jan. 1, 1863, as implementation generally depended on the advance of Union troops to Confederate-controlled places. The most remote slavery state, Texas, was one of the last states to abandon chattel slavery. Only through the Thirteenth Amendment, ratified near the end of 1865, did emancipation end slavery throughout the entire United States.

Events for the Juneteenth Celebration, hosted by OHIO’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion, will start out with a Health Walk starting at 10 a.m. along the Athens bike path. Registration is required. 

“We are excited to celebrate Juneteenth at Ohio University as a proud celebration of African American freedom,” Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Gigi Secuban said. “Juneteenth highlights education, achievement, and the pursuit of social justice, all of which are core values here at OHIO. I am grateful to the organizing committee for their tremendous work on this effort. We invite all Bobcats to join us for the events.”

The chairs for the 2021 Juneteenth Celebration are Travis Gatling, artistic director in the School of Dance, and Vanessa Morgan-Nai, coordinator for multicultural advising and African American student success in the Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention (OMSAR)

“We are proud to be a part of this historically significant celebration dating back to 1865,” Gatling and Morgan-Nai said. “We look forward to joining alumni, friends, colleagues, and members of the Athens community for Ohio University’s first annual Juneteenth event – Education Through Celebration: Our History, Our Hope!”

A Juneteenth Festival, with live music, food, vendors, celebratory remarks and children’s activities, is set from 3 to 6 p.m. in OHIO Parking Lot 55 on South Green. Participants are asked to bring a personal hygiene item or beauty product to donate. All donated items will be available to OHIO students of color via the Being Black in College program sponsored by OMSAR. Registration is also required. 

For more information about Juneteenth, the schedule of events as well as registration links, visit www.ohio.edu/diversity/juneteenth-celebration.