Celebrating Juneteenth (June 18, 2021)

Dear Colleagues,

On June 19, 1865, African Americans enslaved in Galveston, Texas received official notice of their freedom. This news came long after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Juneteenth marks the moment when news of freedom finally made it to those in the deepest parts of the former slave states.  

The Juneteenth holiday marks this important date and has been celebrated ever since. Just yesterday, President Biden signed a bill establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a United States federal holiday, the first federal holiday since 1983 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established. 

The last 155 years since the first Juneteenth have seen triumphs for civil rights but also many setbacks for justice. The horrible and lasting ravages of slavery and racism in the United States remain today. Still, we at UM-Dearborn can and must do our part to support inclusion, equity, and equality and work to ensure we live up the highest ideals of our nation and our university.  This will require strong, sustained and unwavering commitment.

Over the past year, our campus DEI Working Group launched the following initiatives that are aligned with our strategic planning effort: 

  • DEI training is now required for all search committees on campus. 

  • We initiated a staff pay equity study. Leadership is now reviewing the results of the study. The data will help inform strategies to make the UM-Dearborn more inclusive and equitable. 

  • Our Human Resources office continues to engage our campus in the Facilitator Engagement Program with Ann Arbor, which provides training content and discussion focused solely in DEI areas.

  • We are building educational programming to help everyone on campus learn and become informed on important issues that impact our university, community and the world. 

Higher education acts as an essential vehicle to drive opportunity and success. UM-Dearborn will always be dedicated to serving all the people in our community and will remain committed to inclusivity, equal representation and accessibility. Both in and outside of the classroom, many of us have taken the time to teach and learn about racism, encouraged community volunteering, and reached out in empathy to others as we experienced this difficult year. I hope we all continue to do so. While we have made strides towards a more equal future, we still have a ways to go to address systemic racism, injustice, and inequities that still exist today. 

Together in reflection and hope for a better, fairer and more equitable future for all,

Domenico Grasso

Office of the Chancellor

1070 - Administration Building
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
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Phone: 313-593-5500
Fax: 313-593-5204