A message from the Diversity & Inclusion Council


Dear Colleagues,

Today, we celebrate Juneteenth, in recognition of African American history and heritage - a history and heritage that is rich and beautiful and enduring, yet evocative of pain and deep sorrow and injustice.

The United States has enjoyed much prosperity on the laden backs of African Americans, whose significant civic, intellectual and cultural contributions and those of life and limb started with the first enslaved African people who were forcibly brought to the country in 1619. African American history is American history. We acknowledge and celebrate this history and the indelible contributions of the African American community. We acknowledge the grave injustices inflicted upon this community starting with slavery, through Jim Crow and the struggle for Civil Rights, and until today.

Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when the federal order stating that previously enslaved people were free was finally read in the most remote corner of the former Confederate states: Galveston, Texas – almost two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted.

One hundred fifty-five years later, the United States continues to grapple with systemic racism. The deep and pervasive scars left by our nation’s history of slavery and racism remain, and have been exacerbated by the ongoing killings by the police of African Americans and Blacks - the horrific deaths of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery being just a few recent examples. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting the African American community as a result of systemic racism and its consequences, including unequal access to resources.

We believe that Black Lives Matter. We will continue to work towards inclusion, equality, equity, and justice. We continue to stand in solidarity with those who speak out against systemic racism and oppression. We continue to stand with the African American and Black communities.

The Diversity and Inclusion Council