Dear Barnard Community,

As in previous years, Barnard will observe Juneteenth with special programming and a day off on Monday, June 20, for students, faculty and most staff. This important commemoration once again prompts us to reflect on America's long history of slavery and the way it continues to shape our nation a century and a half after Emancipation. It is a chance to celebrate the resilience and power of Black Americans, as we raise up our shared aspirations for racial justice, self-determination, and truth. These values resonate with Barnard's educational mission and fundamental commitment to equity and anti-racism. 

Juneteenth marks the commemoration of the day in 1865 that Union troops arrived in Texas and announced that all enslaved people were now free two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. News of emancipation spread across Texas throughout the summer and autumn of 1865 and local Black communities gradually settled on June 19 (Juneteenth) as their day of celebration. To learn more, read Professor Celia Naylor's article on the history of Juneteenth in Texas, the broader context of celebrating emancipatory acts for people of African descent, and the official holiday’s contemporary relevance. 

This commemoration also serves as a yearly reminder that we must all participate in the continued struggle to dismantle racism. This year, we will continue a practice of suggesting a text to encourage our community to collectively engage and reflect on the meaning of Juneteenth. We invite you to watch Miss Juneteenth (2020). Set in Texas, the film portrays the love and resilience between a Black mother and her daughter, as they overcome racist challenges in their everyday lives and find the freedom for self expression and independence while participating in a local beauty pageant.

On Friday, June 17 at 12 p.m., join the Sloate Media Center for an in-person screening on campus followed by a discussion led by a faculty member. Please see text suggestions on Juneteenth and Black liberation from BLAIS staff below.

Further details will be provided to managers and staff required to work on June 20. Staff should check the Connections newsletter for additional information. Employees represented by UAW Local 2110, TWU Local 264, and Local 32 BJ who are assigned to work on the holiday will be paid in accordance with the holiday pay provisions of the respective collective bargaining agreement, as well as overtime pay, if applicable.

Managers who have questions on how best to support staff requests, please feel free to contact a member of the Office of Human Resources at

Wishing you rest and reflection.

Jomysha Delgado Stephen, Executive Vice President and General Counsel

Jennifer Rosales, Vice President of Inclusion and Engaged Learning, Chief Diversity Officer

Text suggestions on Juneteenth and Black liberation from BLAIS staff: