SUU Celebrates Freedom with Juneteenth Events

Published: May 25, 2022 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUU's first Juneteenth celebrationFor the first time in its history, Southern Utah University is honoring the Juneteenth holiday with a weeklong celebration of freedom. This year’s theme, Juneteenth: A Past, Present, and Future American Celebration was chosen to invite all to learn and reaffirm the shared history and shared future of American communities, and to celebrate the progress made as a nation to fulfill the founding principle of freedom.

“This year we have the honor of celebrating 125 years at SUU and recognizing the legacy of determination, grit and community triumph of the founders and stewards of SUU and the land that it's on,” said Daneka Souberbielle, chief diversity officer at SUU. “We celebrate the same resilience, fortitude and tenacity of African Americans at Juneteenth, knowing that acknowledging and learning from this difficult and complex part of American history will help us prepare for an equally beautiful and bright future as a nation and global community.”

The T-Bird family and Cedar City community are invited to join the events, learn and celebrate. Events begin on Thursday, June 9 from 4-7 p.m. with a Community Day at the Southern Utah Museum of Art and end on Friday, June 17 with the ​​Juneteenth Jubilee on the Upper Quad. Other events include a special exhibit at SUMA, one-person shows reflecting the lives of Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall and other influential figures, and a Community Reads Conversation centered on the book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs presented by SUU Community Education. For additional information and events, visit

Commemorated annually on June 19, Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. Also known as June Nineteenth, Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day, or Emancipation Day, the holiday marks the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Texas to free the remaining enslaved African Americans. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed two and a half years prior, Juneteenth honors the official end of slavery in the United States.

The holiday has been celebrated by Black Americans since the late 19th century and is now commemorated and formally recognized on a national and state level. U.S. President Joseph R. Biden shared a recommitment to the work of equity, equality, and justice in the proclamation creating the national holiday on June 18, 2021. Utah officially declared Juneteenth a state holiday in March 2022.

Although SUU will be closed on Monday, June 20 in observance of Juneteenth, visitors are invites to celebrate the national holiday at the Southern Utah Museum of Art between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. The museum recently opened a new exhibition, I'm Walkin' for My Freedom, which features 40 photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There is a participatory activity that prompts visitors to consider our past, present, and future. This exhibition is organized by Matt Herron and the Center for Documentary Expression and Art. It is shown here with the permission of the Matt and Jeannine Herron Trust, 2001.

SUU is committed to fostering an inclusive community of lifelong learners. We encourage our community members to make observations and inquiries through an intersectional lens. We celebrate diverse approaches and points of view. We believe diversity makes us stronger, more innovative, and better prepared to compete in a global society. We provide education and programming opportunities that promote understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We respect the rights of all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, ability, sexual orientation, veteran status, immigration status, gender identity, or gender expression. Learn more about the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

Tags: Southern Utah Museum of Art Equity and Inclusion Community Center for Diversity and Inclusion

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