IU President Pamela Whitten announced the university will recognize and begin celebrating Juneteenth as an official university holiday for the first time in 2022 in her weekly blog post Tuesday.
Whitten said in the blog post this serves as an opportunity to acknowledge our past and look forward to a more inclusive future. This change is a step towards achieving IU’s diversity initiative, focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion, she said.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated holiday commemorating the emancipation of African American slaves in 1865. The holiday marks the day federal troops arrived June 19 in Galveston, Texas, to assume control and ensure the freedom of slaves within the state, according to History.com.
In honor of the holiday, IU offices will close annually June 20 and will be a paid holiday for university staff and faculty members.