TO: Sonoma State University Campus Community
FR: Jerlena Griffin-Desta, Ph.D., Chief of Staff to the President, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Diversity
Dear Campus Community,
You are invited to Sonoma State’s inaugural campus symposium, “Celebrating Juneteenth: Advancing Black Student Access and Success,” on Monday, June 13, from 1pm to 4pm at the Student Center. Part celebration of this historical declaration of freedom, and part conversation about issues currently facing the Black community in Sonoma County, we welcome and encourage your attendance and engagement.
While the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, freedom for America’s slave population did not become a full-scale reality until June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers announced that the 250,000 Black slaves in Texas had been legally freed via the Emancipation Proclamation. Known as the ‘second U.S. Independence Day,’ Juneteenth has historically been celebrated by Black Americans, but it is now being recognized and honored by Americans of every race and culture. Not only does the holiday represent freedom, but also inclusion and the value of diversity so often characterized as fundamentally American.
SSU’s Juneteenth event is free and will feature a number of campus and community leaders, including Mayor of Rohnert Park Jackie Elward; President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Sonoma County Branch Kirstyne Lange; and spoken word poet and activist Porsche Veu Kelly, among others. Whether you are a member of the Black community, an ally of Black student success, or just curious and interested in sharing in what we hope will be an uplifting and inspiring afternoon, we look forward to seeing you there!
More information, including a detailed agenda, can be found here. Please let us know you plan to attend (remember, the event is FREE) by registering here.
This SSU symposium is part of a larger two-day inaugural CSU event, By Any Means Necessary: Honoring the Voices of Our Ancestors and Everyday People, hosted this year by CSU Dominguez Hills and occurring with livestream on June 15th and 16th. If you would like to view the CSU-wide event, you can register for the free livestream here.
We are grateful for the support of our SSU campus partners and community groups. We especially acknowledge the co-sponsorship by the Associated Students; the Black Faculty and Staff Association; the Division of Student Affairs (DSA); and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
Jerlena Griffin-Desta, Ph.D.
Chief of Staff to the President
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Diversity