Recognizing Juneteenth

Dear BC Community,

On June 19 Bellevue College, and the nation, honors Juneteenth. Congress recently passed legislation to establish June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, and President Joe Biden will sign the bill today. It will be the first national holiday approved since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983.

Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when the enslaved people in Texas learned that two years earlier the Emancipation Proclamation had become law. While we expand our learning and understanding of this and other significant moments in our nation’s history, we must also recognize that nearly 156 years later, there is still much work to be done.

Too often, throughout history and presently, racial equity work carried out by members of the Black community is being met with resistance and denial despite overwhelming evidence that hate, systemic racism and discrimination still plagues our society. Juneteenth offers our community another opportunity to become better allies through learning and action.

Please take some time to learn more about Juneteenth (Quintard Taylor, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Washington, also has an excellent overview online). Participate in one of many free Juneteenth events in the area. Or check out the Library Media Center’s virtual Black Lives Matter or Black History Month displays to take a deeper dive into the challenges we must all work together to address. Explore the National Museum of African American History & Culture’s virtual programs and educational lessons about Juneteenth. Finally, consider ways you can incorporate this new learning into your daily actions and your work within the Bellevue College community.

Thank you for enriching our BC community and contributing to our diverse campus.

Gary Locke

Interim President

Last Updated June 17, 2021