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SUNY Chancellor says Juneteenth is ‘an occasion for all Americans’ in statement


(WBNG/AP) -- SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras has released a statement on Juneteenth Friday.

In a news release, Malatras said:

“Juneteenth is an occasion for all Americans—regardless of race, religion, or country of origin—to reflect upon the legacy of slavery, explore their humanity, and consider the challenge of true racial equity in a nation whose history includes the trafficking and enslavement of millions of people of African descent.

Throughout SUNY, we celebrate Juneteenth by having open and historically accurate conversations with one another about this shared history and what it means for all of us today.

Doing so helps us progress as individuals and as a nation. The recognition of Juneteenth is not a singular event meant to celebrate the liberation of a people who had been enslaved for more than 200 years up to that moment in time. It is also for us to reaffirm the truth that together, we can bring about a just future.

At SUNY, we are constantly striving to make our system more socially just, antiracist, and inclusive for all, where we reject hate and discrimination. Let us collectively learn from our history so, to that end, we encourage all students, staff, and faculty to use this day to reflect on our past and look toward our future together at SUNY as we continue to work to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment free of hate.”

On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas two months after the Confederacy had surrendered.

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