Most university offices will be closed and classes will not meet Monday, June 21, in honor of Juneteenth National Independence Day, Kent State President Todd Diacon announced in an email statement. 

The decision followed President Joe Biden’s Thursday signing of legislation establishing June 19 as a federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the official end of slavery in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.

“Juneteenth is an opportunity for all of us to acknowledge and embrace the full history of our nation, honor the life and legacy of the African American experience and reflect on the horrors of slavery as we measure our progress towards racial equity,” Diacon wrote in his statement. 

Events that cannot be rescheduled, such as Campus Connection, Destination Kent State and Transfer Kent State programs will continue as planned. Faculty members who are unable to take Monday off will receive a "floating holiday" to use at another approved time this year, the email stated. 

Diacon encouraged the entire Kent State community to attend the Juneteenth Jubilee hosted by the Student Multicultural Center Friday, June 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Risman Plaza. 

The event will have vendors, a live DJ, dancing and an opportunity for Black business owners to network with the community. There will also be refreshments that symbolize important facts representative of Juneteenth.

“Juneteenth is a celebration of the courage and perseverance of Black Americans,” Diacon wrote. “I encourage you to commemorate this very special day with your community and our university community in the years to come.”

Raygene English is a reporter. Contact her at renglis2@kent.edu

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