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Juneteenth: Message from the President

Juneteenth: a time for reflection and recommitment on the Black Life and the Fight against Racism

As an institution of higher education, we at Southwestern Illinois College are committed to valuing human life,with respect, fairness, equality, and dignity. I am appalled at the recent events across our country, the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and innumerable others. The reality is: we as individuals have a responsibility to build relationships valuing each other with respect, to learn and to understand diverse cultures and views, and to appreciate each other’s unique backgrounds, societal inequities, and abilities.

In our continued commitment toward respecting differences, and in light of the national conversation regarding racism and injustices, Southwestern Illinois College empathizes with the historically unique Texas celebration of Juneteenth, the emancipation of the last Confederate slaves on June 19, 1865. Two months after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, five months after passage of the 13th Amendment and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery in Texas had yet to be abolished. On June 19, as a Confederate insurgency continued, Union Major General Gordon Granger, in command of 1,800 Union soldiers, proclaimed that “all slaves are free” in the state and that there would be “absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.” (Rita Reynolds, Associate Professor and Chair of Wagner College History Department)

Lizz Schumer, a staff writer for Hearst Magazines, on June 4, 2020 posted a Twitter comment from Makayla Butler on the Good Housekeeping website.

Juneteenth twitter image

Let’s respect, support, and extend understanding to one another as human beings because it makes us stronger and we are able to achieve greater success together.

Respectfully yours,

Nick Mance