UC Berkeley celebrates the first Federal Juneteenth Holiday

June 28, 2021


Photo: The Juneteenth flag was originally designed in 1997 by activist Ben Haith and illustrator Lisa Jeanna Graf. The red white and blue colors represent that enslaved people were Americans. The central star represents Texas where Juneteenth was first celebrated. The outer star burst symbolizes a nova representing a new beginning for African Americans. 

From the Univeristy of California President Michael Drake:

Dear colleagues:

Yesterday (June 18, 2021) President Biden declared a federal holiday for Juneteenth, the day that celebrates and commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. This is an historic moment for our nation — 156 years in the making.

Celebrated on the 19th of June, Juneteenth, also known as Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Freedom Day, marks the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Texas learned they were free. This news was delivered two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became law.

I intend to immediately add this to the University of California’s calendar of holidays. This year we will observe this holiday on Monday, June 28th.  Starting in 2022, we will celebrate the Juneteenth holiday according to the federal calendar.

As we approach June 19th, I invite you to join me in reflecting on our nation’s history, the horrors of centuries of bondage, and the difficult road from liberation to equality. Let us resolve to build a future representing and lifted up by our ideals, our values, and our best selves.

Fiat Lux, 

Michael V. Drake, M.D.