The virtual three-day celebration aims to explore the diverse, lived experiences of the Black communities  and seek support for the designation of a Juneteenth Emancipation national holiday 


The Juneteenth flag waves in front of the Administration Building at the first inaugural celebration on the University of Redlands campus. (courtesy image)

Why do we need to celebrate Juneteenth and why should we fight to make it a national holiday? Those questions and more will be answered during the University of Redlands Inaugural Juneteenth event June 15-17, 2021 at This virtual event is free and open to the public.


“There are still a lot of people who are unaware of what Juneteenth is,” said Joy Clark, president of the Black Student Faculty Staff Administrator and Alumni (BSFSAA). “While it is part of our country’s history, it is not taught in schools. that is one of the reasons that this celebration is so significant, to teach others about Juneteenth, its history, and what it means.”


In addition to bringing awareness to the effort to make Juneteenth (June 19) a national holiday, the three-day experience will also explore many facets of Black history, Black art, and Black culture.

Joy Clark, president of the University of Redlands Black Student Faculty Staff Administrator and Alumni group, presents the Juneteenth flag during the ceremony. Photographed at the Administration building on June 2, 2021 by Coco McKown.

“The entire celebration is a form of teaching and learning about history, and the need for change in the future,” said Tekia McNeil, chair of the Juneteenth Celebration. “As an instructional institution, we have the responsibility to teach the historic truth of Black and African Americans in history, and other cultural-related topics.”


Some of that history will be learned during an event highlight scheduled on June 16 when U of R Senior Diversity and Inclusion Office Christopher Jones, J.D. will interview Opal Lee, a social impact leader who at age 89 began her quest to make Juneteenth a national holiday with “Opal’s Walk 2 DC”. The interview will be followed by a live Q & A.


Other event sessions include: The History of Juneteenth, Collecting Oral Family History, Untold Stories of Black History in Redlands, How to Make it Home Safe, Health and Wellness, UoReal Talk, BlaQ Celebration and History, a virtual Black art museum, historical foods demonstration, and more.

Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration Flag Ceremony. Photographed at the Administration building on June 2, 2021 by Coco McKown.

The Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration is presented by the U of R’s Black Student Faculty Staff Administrator and Alumni (BSFSAA) in collaboration with the Black Student Union (BSU) and Department of Campus Diversity & Inclusion (CDI).