Juneteenth Holiday Proclamation

April 30, 2021

Dear Grinnellians,

We are pleased to announce that Grinnell College will honor Juneteenth by recognizing it as an official College holiday. This year, Juneteenth occurs on a Saturday, therefore, the College will commemorate the holiday on Friday, June 18. Going forward, Juneteenth will be a permanent part of the institutional calendar and recognized as a holiday.

This year marks the 156th anniversary of the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was effective on January 1, 1863. However, enslaved Texans were not made aware of their freedom until the Union Army took control of Texas. Founded by newly emancipated African Americans, Juneteenth commemorates this day, which is now celebrated in a variety of ways across the country. From family cookouts to larger formal ceremonies, Juneteenth gatherings provide an opportunity to celebrate family, friends, and freedom. On April 11, 2002, Iowa officially recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday, naming it Juneteenth National Freedom Day.

Although we have observed Juneteenth in past years with various on-campus gatherings and time spent in community, we hope this time off will allow you to more fully take part in celebrations and gatherings, even if such participation may be virtual this year.

In the context of the growing national discourse about systemic racism across various American institutions and systems, we also envision that this opportunity may provide time to reflect upon the connections between institutional and individual action to the continuing work of anti-racism and systemic change.

Information about Juneteenth programming and celebratory opportunities will be forthcoming. In the meantime, we invite faculty and staff, and students working this summer, to plan for a holiday on June 18. Human Resources will follow up separately with compensatory pay or leave option information for benefit-eligible employees and an updated holiday schedule. We look forward to the commemoration of Juneteenth at Grinnell College!

All the best,

Jana and Schvalla

Jana L. Grimes
Interim Vice President of Human Resources

Schvalla R. Rivera, PhD, CDE
Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, and Senior Advisor to the President

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