This Sunday is Juneteenth, a holiday marking the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Juneteenth is a day to commemorate the dignity of the human spirit by honoring the suffering endured and the immense contributions made by enslaved people in the United States. It is a moment to reinforce our commitments to anti-racism and anti-discrimination in all its forms.
Juneteenth is also a day to celebrate the many contributions of African American and Black people to the Vassar community—past and present. For those who are on campus, take a moment to visit the Buildings and Belonging signs throughout campus that highlight some of these contributions, and to spend time at the Garden for the Celebration of Black Lives perhaps reflecting on Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise inscribed there. In addition, note that Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, will be speaking at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie in celebration of Juneteenth. For more information about this free event, see here.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the many people involved with the recruitment and selection of our five new faculty whose scholarship focuses on race and racial justice and who will begin at Vassar this coming year.
May we all have a meaningful Juneteenth.
Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604