Juneteenth is a Time to Honor, Celebrate and Respect

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UW Tacoma joins with UW campuses in Seattle and Bothell to mark Juneteenth on June 19, 2021.

(Image above: Partido dos Trabalhadores, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

UW Tacoma joins with UW campuses in Seattle and Bothell to mark Juneteenth on June 19, 2021.

In honor of the day, Equity & Inclusion Vice Chancellor James C. McShay announced that UW Tacoma will fly the Pan African flag at 10 a.m. on June 19. In a message to campus, he also announced the launch of the Black Opportunity Fund, which has currently raised $80,000 to support initiatives promoting the success of Black students at UW Tacoma. Dr. McShay’s message is presented below.

UW News has published “ ‘An occasion for unapologetic Black joy, community connection, and reeducation’: UW’s LaTaSha Levy discusses Juneteenth,” a Q&A with LaTaSha Levy, assistant professor of American ethnic studies at UW in Seattle.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce has published “On Juneteenth, we honor the past and act for the future,” restating the UW’s commitment to “the ongoing work of fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in every aspect of our academic community and our community at large,” and providing a list of resources to learn more about the historic context of Juneteenth.

Juneteenth in Our Community

By Dr. James C. McShay, Vice Chancellor, Equity & Inclusion

Today marks the 156th anniversary of the emancipation of African Americans from slavery in the U.S. This day not only acknowledges the end of state-sanctioned enslavement of African Americans but also calls attention to the longstanding forms of racial injustice, violence, and trauma that has be inflicted upon people of the African diaspora for well over 400 years.

Juneteenth, also referred to as Liberation Day, calls for us not only to remember the legacy of racism in this country but also to commit to dismantling the effects of white supremacy and systemic oppression through actions that promote antiracism and eradicate anti-Black racism in our communities.

This day presents an opportunity for us to honor, celebrate, and show respect for Black history, tradition, and culture. In celebration and recognition of Juneteenth which has now become a federal holiday, UW Tacoma along with the Seattle and Bothell campuses will fly the Pan-African flag. The flag will be raised on our campus at 10:00am tomorrow morning.

In addition to this celebratory activity, UW Tacoma is announcing the launch of the Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) which was established at the tri-campus level in the summer of 2020 in the wake of the brutal murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and Tacoma resident Manuel Ellis at the hands of law enforcement or white people in their neighborhoods.

The purpose of this fund is to acknowledge the ongoing harm that systemic racism has had on the members of the Black community and to strategically focus efforts addressing these inequities and injustices. Since this fund was established, UW Tacoma has raised $80,000 to support initiatives that serve as a first step in helping to promote the success and thriving of Black students on our campus.

An Advisory Committee for the BOF is in the process of being formed to oversee the awarding process. It will be comprised of Black students, staff, and faculty as well as staff members from the Center for Equity & Inclusion. The Office of Equity & Inclusion will serve as the administrative home for the fund.

If you are interested in being in community with others as you commemorate Juneteenth, below are a few events that are scheduled for tomorrow in our area. In order to continue to keep everyone safe, all events are asking attendees to wear a mask and practice social distancing. For the Juneteenth celebration event in Tacoma, please note that our own colleague, Chana Lawson, UW Tacoma Assistant Director of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving, will receive the Unsung Hero Award!

Second annual "Still We Rise Juneteenth Celebration,” presented by Candace Wesley and Associates, Sat., June 19, 2021, 12 noon - 5 p.m.,  Wright Park, 501 S. I St, Tacoma, Wash. For more information: Juneteenth253@gmail.com

First annual “Juneteenth Community Celebration,” presented by the Two Way Racial Healing Project, Sat., June 19, 2021, 3:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.,  DeCoursey Park, 2101 7th Ave SW, Puyallup, Wash. Music, Food, Fun, and Give Aways. 

First annual “Juneteenth Celebration BBQ,” presented by Phenomenal She and Game of Life, Sat., June 19, 2021, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Town Square Park, 31600 Pete von Reichbauer Way S., Federal Way, Wash. Festivities and food, as well as a dunking and 3-point contest. Sign up for the contest here.

June 18, 2021
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or johnbjr@uw.edu