Editor’s note: The following is a message to the Colorado State University community sent on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.
Dear Faculty and Staff,
Colorado State University will officially begin to observe Juneteenth on Monday, June 20. Yesterday, a Colorado state bill was signed into law to officially establish Juneteenth — June 19 — as a legal state holiday in Colorado.
Because Juneteenth falls on a Sunday this year, our university will observe Juneteenth by closing on Monday, June 20. Faculty and staff who are required to work on Monday, June 20, should be given an alternative paid day off in May or June, before the end of the fiscal year (See faculty and staff leave and pay Juneteenth FAQs on the Human Resources website).
On June 19, 1865, as the Civil War came to an end, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that all enslaved people had been freed. Enslaved Texans were the last people within the Confederacy to officially learn of their freedom – two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Juneteenth – also sometimes called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day – has since commemorated that historic occasion, but until now has not been recognized as an official Colorado holiday.
With this legislation – 157 years later – Juneteenth becomes Colorado’s 11thpaid holiday. Celebrating Juneteenth also reflects our ongoing effort to cultivate a thriving, inclusive community across our institution. This is a celebration of our community.
Juneteenth provides our Colorado State University community an opportunity to mark this important date in United States history by acknowledging our country’s painful past of slavery, and reflecting upon and honoring the countless ways our diverse students, faculty and staff bring a rich heritage and vital perspective to our university, community and country.
We invite you to learn more about university and regional activities celebrating Juneteenth and other ways you can observe and support this historic first holiday for Colorado.
Vice President for Inclusive Excellence
Vice President for Human Resources