The University of Indianapolis Office of Inclusion and Equity hosted the Juneteenth 2021 Family Affair: In Solidarity earlier this week. The University joined the nation in continuing to celebrate Juneteenth, which is the oldest national commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States 156 years ago. 2021 marks the first year for the celebration and the University’s observance of Juneteenth as an official holiday.
On Thursday, June 17, the celebration featured speakers like Rev. Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright, DJs, original poetry readings, and a dance performance from the Iibada Dance Company.
The Black National Anthem was performed by Tremayne Horne, an assistant director in UIndy’s Professional Edge Center. When asked about the importance of the event, Horne said, “America comes together to celebrate what happened on July 4, 1776, but has not acknowledged that Africans and African Americans were still slaves at the time. We were not free. It was not until June 19, 1865 (89 years later) that African Americans became free. Giving honor to those that fought for freedom and allowing space to those that choose to celebrate shows that UIndy acknowledges and supports all students.”
Horne, who also helped plan the event, said he was most proud of “the young men and women that have worked so hard to make this happen and the support and freedom that [the Office of Inclusion and Equity] has given them to express themselves.”
The entire UIndy community was invited to the celebration, including alumni and friends. The event resonated with Black alumni including DyNishia Miller ‘14. Miller said, “it shows that the University values and recognizes the significance of this day and its meaning to our country and Black Americans.” She added that it feels really good “as a Black alumna” to see UIndy celebrating the holiday.
“I hope the University will continue to create inclusive spaces and provide opportunities for diverse students, faculty, staff, and alumni to thrive, be understood, and be embraced. A more diverse, inclusive, and equitable UIndy is a better UIndy for all of us,” said Miller.
The Juneteenth Family Affair also served as an educational opportunity for many members of the UIndy community. An activity book was designed by Tylyn Johnson ’22. The book was given to attendees that highlighted the history of the holiday, its importance for the Black community and how everyone can get involved.
The Office of Inclusion and Equity also hosts a podcast series titled “Juneteenth Conversations” to help encourage diversity discussions. You can listen to previous podcast episodes here. We look forward to additional events hosted by the Office of Inclusion and Equity to honor and celebrate our diverse campus and alumni community.