Dominican to Observe Juneteenth as Campus Holiday

Dominican University of California will close on June 19, 2020, to observe Juneteenth, the commemoration of the emancipation of Black Americans from slavery. The day will be a University holiday this year and henceforth, and each year the Dominican community will be urged to devote the day to reflection, action, and education about racism and racial inequity.

Juneteenth memorializes June 19, 1865. On that day a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African Americans that the Civil War had ended and they had been freed — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

“It is our hope that this holiday will provide us with the intellectual space to reflect, talk, plan, and act. Now is the time to determine how we-- as individuals and as a campus--will engage in anti-racism work, so that together we are united in our commitment to making Dominican a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive community.” — Mary B. Marcy, President, Dominican University of California.

“The institution of Juneteenth as a holiday should serve as an important reminder not just of an emancipatory moment, but also of our country's racist past, its economic and social foundations in the enslavement of human beings. It should serve as a reminder, too, that the past of the US carries into the present, and that we are all responsible for dismantling these racist structures — which live both in and outside of us — in order that we may imagine and build a future that guarantees equal humanity for all.” — DAG co-chairs George Faithful, Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy; Nnekay FitzClarke, Reference and Instructional Librarian; and Amy Wong, Assistant Professor of English.

"Commemorating Juneteenth in this way aligns perfectly with the central principle that has guided 400 years of Dominican and Dominican-heritage education: the belief that true and deep learning happens when we intentionally reflect, in a context of community and of service to one another. Undoing racism and white supremacy is one of the things it is most urgent for all of us to learn more about, now and at long last.” — Nicola Pitchford, Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The Dominican community can visit the resource repository created by the University’s Diversity Action Group (DAG) to view and read resources to support reflection and consideration relating to diversity and equity. 

Over the past year, DAG, a standing committee of dedicated faculty, staff, administration, and students, has laid the groundwork for an institution-wide, multi-year Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The goal of the plan, which was developed this year with broad community input and will be finalized this fall, is to create a more intentionally inclusive institutional environment at Dominican.

This past year, DAG grew both its membership and its involvement in community-building efforts on campus, such as facilitating professional development workshops for faculty and staff and hosting campus conversations with students.

This fall, a soon-to-be appointed Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will join with DAG to lead the campus community in implementing the plan, ensuring it is aligned with Dominican’s mission and the broader institutional strategic priorities.

That process will begin in August, as the Dominican campus prepares for the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year by holding a virtual retreat for faculty and staff. The retreat will be devoted to increasing the University’s capacity to effectively support diversity and equity. Specifically, the retreat will be centered on reviewing and beginning to craft a comprehensive response to the first draft of the Diversity and Inclusion Plan.

Dominican’s renewed Diversity Declaration will guide the University’s work to increase effectiveness, outreach, and communication across campus.

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