Dear NYLS Community,
As many of you know, June 19 marks Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, bringing news that the Civil War had ended two months prior and that American slavery was abolished. The announcement, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, has been called “Black Independence Day.” Though families and communities have celebrated Juneteenth for more than 150 years, governments and many private institutions have been slow to formally recognize the holiday. In 1980, Texas became the first state to declare Juneteenth a holiday. Since then, New York and 46 other states—though not the federal government—have moved to officially commemorate Juneteenth or observe it as a holiday.
I invite the New York Law School community to join me in honoring Juneteenth as an official School holiday we will recognize this and each year going forward. This Friday, NYLS will halt all programs and other pre-planned activities so that, as a community, we can focus our time and attention on the meaning of this day. Doing so will mean different things for different people. If you need time for self-care or reflection, we encourage that. If you would like to reach out to friends and co-workers to talk or to offer support, please do so. And, if you are inspired to take other meaningful action, please heed the calling in recognition of the responsibility we all share for one another as Americans, New Yorkers, and fellow members of NYLS.
Learning, Reflection, and Advocacy Guide
NYLS has prepared a guide with resources and opportunities for those who seek to take action on this day.