Dear Friends,

Howdy, The Texas A&M University System has authorized a special release of University personnel on Friday, June 19, in observance of Texas Emancipation Day (classes will be held as scheduled).

In light of this special release day, I am writing to encourage you to become aware of, to make time to learn about, and to reflect on, the history of the Juneteenth Celebration.

This important milestone in Texas and U.S. history celebrates that Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, on the 19th day of June, 1865, with the news that the Civil War had ended, and that the enslaved were now free. Even though this news was received two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had become official on January 1, 1863, the date of June 19th has been celebrated by African-Americans and their descendants since the late 1800s, and beginning in 1980, it became a state holiday in Texas.  I would encourage you to learn more about the history of Juneteenth at: https://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm

I have learned that many times I am personally not as aware of history as I should and would like to be, particularly historical events that have been silenced, have been kept out of sight, or have been distorted. I believe this needs to change, and I am encouraged by the hope that we are indeed living in times that call for all of us to come together, to stand together, and to act together, in support of equality, equity, freedom, and justice for all…

Peace,

Dr. Jorge Vanegas
Dean, College of Architecture