June is the beginning of summer, and this month highlights the celebration of both cultures and identities. One such celebration is Juneteenth, a day that recognizes the end of slavery in the United States. Although President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that the news of the end of the war and emancipation reached Galveston, Texas with the arrival of Union soldiers. This date has long been a day of celebration by Black Americans and became a federal holiday in 2021 with the adoption of a bill signed by President Biden.
The month is also recognized as LGBTQ Pride Month which recognizes the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, a key moment in the struggle for gay liberation. Throughout the month there are many celebrations and memorials recognizing the contributions and struggles of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
As we reflect on these events, let us remember how important it is to Build Our Community Together by welcoming and supporting all members of our institution. The many diverse backgrounds, experiences and identities create the rich experiences that make UNC a community that enriches all of our lives.
Finally, and painfully, we continue to be reminded that many members of our community are hurting. Sadly, the extreme acts of violence in Texas, California, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Oklahoma continue to remind us that we need to be present and support each other. All of us, including our cultural communities, need to feel a sense of inclusion and belonging.
Leah Cox, PhD
Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion/
Chief Diversity Officer