Statement by USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman on the Juneteenth Holiday
Baltimore, Md. (March 31, 2021) – Last year, several University System of Maryland (USM) institutions granted administrative leave on June 19 so that employees could observe Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery.
The granting of leave came in the emotionally raw weeks following the killing of George Floyd, and was meant to help us confront the pain and indignity that slavery has left behind, to reflect on the fight for freedom and justice—then and now—and to joyfully celebrate Black history and culture, Black resistance and resilience.
Of course, Black Americans’ liberation struggle continues, and Juneteenth remains a day of reckoning for us, a day we rededicate ourselves to the ideals we say are foundational to this nation: equality and opportunity for all. And so, going forward, Juneteenth will be a holiday across the USM. Given that Juneteenth falls on a Saturday this year, the USM Office and institutions will observe the holiday on Friday, June 18, granting administrative leave to employees.
I hope the hours of reflection this day provides can help us gather strength for what lies ahead—for we’re just starting our work to examine and redress our part in anti-Black racism and systemic inequities that so badly disadvantage people and communities of color.
On Juneteenth and throughout the year, I hope we’ll talk with one another about how race shapes our lives. I hope we’ll commit to fully and finally ending slavery’s abiding legacy of violence, oppression, and injustice. And I hope that, together, we’ll share in the joy of emancipation.
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Contact: Mike Lurie