Juneteenth 2021

Dear Wagner Community,

We hope you are enjoying a successful completion of the academic year. Now that we have concluded our celebration of the classes of 2020 and 2021, we are looking forward to our second annual Juneteenth celebration.

This past year has brought us many challenges, and we pulled together as a community to provide a robust learning experience in the face of a global pandemic. In addition to the global health crisis, we were reminded of the ongoing racial injustices and acts of violence that disproportionately affect the Black community, and our need to remain committed to addressing these issues in our own community.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official on January 1, 1863.

Today, Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and achievement while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. This year, as we begin to return to our new normal, Wagner celebrates Juneteenth virtually on Friday, June 18 with a robust playlist of videos from our wonderful students, faculty, staff and alumni. We encourage you to review, share, reflect and discuss the presentations with colleagues, friends and family.

As President Martin shared last year, “Juneteenth will be recognized annually by the college as a day for our entire community to engage in learning and listening as well as communing and recharging.” We are thankful to those community members who shared their thoughts and talents with us this year for this virtual playlist. We also thank the Diversity and Internationalization Action Council, Jonathan Harkel, Frank Cafasso, Max Rottenecker and Lee Manchester for their help, and we look forward to celebrating Juneteenth next year in person.

Jazzmine Clarke-Glover and Ruta Shah-Gordon
Diversity and Internationalization Action Council Co-chairs

Opening: African drumming

Performed by DrumLoveUnion

African drumming meaning and Juneteenth overview

Presented by Sidiq Soulemana ’13 M’16, Assistant Director of the Center for Intercultural Advancement/ Diversity Action Council Member

Juneteenth welcome message

Presented by President Joel W. Martin

Invocation: Celebration of freedom, liberation and life

Presented by the Rev. Sabrina Slater M’10, Pastor of Christ the King Fellowship Presbyterian Church, Spencer, N.Y.

Juneteenth musical tribute

Performed and arranged by Anthony Turner, Music Faculty

Juneteenth historical perspective: Importance and relevance to Americans today

Presented by Dr. Rita Reynolds, Associate Professor/ Chair of the History Department

Poetry reading: ‘Caged Bird,’ by Maya Angelou

Read by Terrell Braithwaite ’20, Inaugural Presidential Fellows cohort

What does Juneteenth mean to me: Legacy, paving the way

Presented by the Athletic Department (Terrell Coburn, Head Women’s Basketball Coach; Arnise King M’23, Compliance Coordinator; Eve Harvey ’22, Softball; Kem Nwabudu ’22, Women’s basketball; Katrice Jackson ’23, Women’s basketball; Delonnie Hunt ’24, Men’s basketball; Bashir Mason M’13, Head Men’s Basketball Coach)

Poetry reading: ‘Still I Rise,’ by Maya Angelou

Read by Nicole Ntumba, Area Coordinator, Residential Education

Musical performance: ‘I Sing Because I’m Happy,’ arranged by Rollo Dilworth

Performed by Members of the Wagner College Choir with guitar accompaniment by Jose Luis Diaz Jr., Music Faculty

Poetry reading: ‘The Hill We Climb,’ by Amanda Gorman

Read by Jasmin McClinton ’22

What does Juneteenth mean to me: Are we truly free?

Presented by Nick Cartwright ’23

Musical performance: ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ (from ‘Hairspray’), by Marc Shaiman

Performed by Michala Williams ’17

Metro NYC Juneteenth celebrations

We encourage you to actively engage in and share these curated lists of Juneteenth celebrations on Staten Island and throughout the Metro NYC region. 

Staten Island Juneteenth events Metro NYC Juneteenth celebrations

Recognizing Juneteenth and Pride Month
(Intersectionality of race and sexuality)

We wanted to share articles and resources that speak to the experience of individuals who are members of both the African American/Black and LGBTQ+ communities. 

LGBTQ+ Pride Month is held in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots that erupted in response to violent police raids against the gay community.

“June is Pride Month, an opportunity to recognize our LGBTQ+ colleagues, friends and neighbors and celebrate their many contributions to the Wagner College community,” says Sidiq Soulemana, assistant director of the Center for Intercultural Advancement. “We want to take this moment to acknowledge all the contributions that many tireless members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to make to the advancement of our mission as an institution of higher learning, and to reaffirm our commitment to equity, liberty and justice for all.”

Additional Resources

Revisit Wagner College’s inaugural Juneteenth celebration from 2020: