School of Social Work

No. 28 M.S.W. Program in the U.S.

Juneteenth. Red, black and green type on a gold background
Graphic courtesy of VCU Inclusive Excellence

This Saturday, June 19, marks the annual celebration of Juneteenth, recognized with a state holiday here in Virginia on Friday, June 18. Juneteenth represents the first celebration of freedom among formerly enslaved Black Americans in Texas, who were informed of their freedom more than 2.5 years after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

This week, the United States Senate passed a bill to recognize Juneteenth as an official national holiday. While I am grateful for this acknowledgment of the national importance of Black liberation, my enthusiasm is tempered by the dismay and disbelief I have experienced while witnessing the simultaneous efforts to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory from state history curricula across the United States. As we have discussed at length in our school, efforts to end racism that fail to begin with acknowledgment of the ways that it is woven into the fabric of our laws, policies and institutions will fall woefully short. To prohibit schools from teaching students to think critically about culturally embedded, taken-for-granted patterns of white dominance is a deeply troubling setback that the profession of social work is obligated to contest.

So, let us celebrate and remember this weekend. For those here in Virginia, I hope you will consider attending one of the many statewide events or one of the local events listed below. And then, let us renew our commitment to the collective and necessary work of confronting and dismantling anti-Blackness in our laws, our policies, our institutions and our everyday lives.

In solidarity,

Beth Angell signature

Beth Angell, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
VCU School of Social Work

Juneteenth events in the Richmond area

June 18

8-10 p.m. – Elegba Folklore Society Dogwood Dell Juneteenth Performance
Dogwood Dell Amphitheater at Byrd Park (near First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1000 Blanton Ave.)

June 19

June 27

1-6 p.m. – Juneteenth, A Freedom Celebration – 25th Anniversary, Elegba Folklore Society

Juneteenth Resources

Categories Community, From the dean
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