June 19 is recognized by many in the United States as Juneteenth, or the date that marked the end of slavery. Although President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that legally freed slaves on January 1, 1863, it was not until the arrival of the Union Army in Galveston, Texas, and an order from General Granger on June 19, 1865 that led to the emancipation of those still enslaved.
To commemorate this sacred day and in recognition of the renewed call for social justice, all URI community members are encouraged to spend time on Friday, June 19 for personal reflection, community connection, and intentional learning in solidarity with our Black students, staff, faculty, and alumni. On this day and moving forward, take some time to educate yourself and others about issues of power and privilege and the insidious impacts of oppression and injustice prevalent in our society today. We challenge you to engage in the necessary and often difficult conversations with colleagues and students about anti-Black racism, implicit bias, and bystander intervention. We ask you to consider how individual and collective action can advance the principles of URI’s Cornerstone Values.
The University’s leadership is appreciative of all the community feedback, expressions of disappointment, messages of hope, and calls to action to address anti-Black racism on campus. We commit to communicating more often on the progress being made across the University to combat institutional racism.
As President Dooley shared in his message on June 11, 2020: “URI, and American higher education more broadly, have missed or mishandled too many opportunities to help guide our nation to becoming a just and humane society. Let us not squander this one. Let us agree to expand our transformational goal around community, equity, and diversity to include URI becoming a national, even global, leader in the battle against systemic racism.