Naropa is proud to join the millions of Americans who since June 19th, 1865, have celebrated Juneteenth as a day of freedom, a step towards reconciliation, and liberation. On January 1st, 1863, in the thralls of Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, officially ending slavery in the United States. It would take two and half years for news of the Proclamation to find its way to the furthest western realms of the nation in Galveston, Texas officially ending servitude of Black Americans. This day has been celebrated in the Black community as Juneteenth ever since, and then finally, in June 2021, President Joseph Biden announced Juneteenth, as America’s newest national holiday.
Naropa joins hands with the Black community in declaring Juneteenth a recognized paid holiday. Naropa will close our doors on Monday June 19th, 2023 so that we can walk together in honoring the liberation and freedom of this national hoilday. This is a day of remembrance, a time to reflect, a time to make reparations, and to recommit to the work of justice, equity, and inclusion.
While Juneteenth National Independence Day is now a reality in the U.S., still systemic racial inequities abound including voter suppression, healthcare disparities, mass incarceration, and attacks against Critical Race Theory in public education and elsewhere. There is still much work to be done.
The purpose of Juneteenth National Independence Day amplifies and expands the liberatory arc of the Black experience throughout the nation so that we all can take a moment together to reflect on the freedom from suffering and the joys of being free, the responsibilities that come with being free, and the ways we protect each other from future enslavement, including mass incarceration. Joy is an act of resistance, and in celebrating Juneteenth we are choosing to continue the fight for liberation as a community. This holiday is an opportunity to reflect on the collective journey that America has undergone as a nation built off the shackles of oppression and slavery. Even though slavery has ended, the infrastructures in which this country was born continue to cause oppression, systematic racism and discrimination.
On Juneteenth, we shift our mentality from hyper individuality, into communal interdependence. We become proactive as members of society through claiming responsibility for the collective wellbeing of all. We can become conscious of our social locations, our privileges, our biases and our internalized forms of oppression and participate in liberation of humanity. In collective awareness, we can move towards a more equitable future. A future that begins with the self and leads with community.
Naropa is building a future filled with students of every color, race and ethnicity, to align with their ancestral lineages and dream into a new epoch of possibility. The liberation philosophy of Afro and Ethno-Futures is holding ground and taking firm claim here at Naropa, and not just during Black History month but throughout the year. In establishing the Division of Mission Culture and Inclusive Community during the summer of 2020, Naropa remains steadfast in our commitment to the Global Majority also commonly referred to as Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). We now have year-round staffing, programing, and restorative practices dedicated to fostering the development of JEDI (Justice Equity Diversity Inclusion) values for all our students, staff, and faculty.
Ways to celebrate Juneteenth this year:
- Boulder County Juneteenth Celebration: Saturday, June 17, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Roosevelt Park, Longmont
- Denver Juneteenth Music Festival, Saturday June 17th and Sunday June 18th, Five Points, 2720 Welton Street, Denver, CO 80205 RSVP Here
- Support Black Owned Business’ and Four Black Owned Restaurants in Denver
Written in solidarity and collaboration by the Division of Mission Culture and Inclusive Community.