Juneteenth Reflection Focuses on the Importance of June 19

Standing, from left, Dr. Akil Khalfani and Dr. Augustine A. Boakye. Seated, Dr. Angela R. Garretson and Mr. Lawrence Hamm.

Dr. Akil Khalfani shows some of the items on display in the Africana Institute

Artwork in recognition of Juneteenth on display in the Africana Institute

Juneteenth was observed at Essex County College with a Juneteenth Reflection panel discussion on Thursday, June 15. Moderated by ECC Africana Institute Director Dr. Akil Khalfani, the program offered perspectives and the importance on Juneteenth from Dr. Angela R. Garretson (Chief External Affairs Officer at NJIT) and Mr. Lawrence Hamm (Chair of the People’s Organization for Progress).

The Juneteenth Reflection and art exhibition was sponsored by the Africana Institute. The exhibition is on display through June 23 in the Africana Institute, 2nd Floor of the College’s Newark campus.

Juneteenth is an annual holiday observing the end of slavery in the United States. It marks the day (June 19, 1865) when news of emancipation reached people in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy in Galveston, Texas.

“No one gave us Juneteenth. We struggled and with determination made it happen. June 19 was a seminal event at the conclusion of the most catastrophic ware ever fought in the country. It’s what it took to end slavery. But to has taken another 150 years for this country to have a holiday recognizing the abolition of slavery,” said Mr. Hamm.

Dr. Garretson said that education is a crucial tool for people to understand the importance of Juneteenth.  

ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, said the College will build on the programs recognizing Juneteenth. “Through education, more people will learn about the importance of Juneteenth, and we are doing it right here at Essex County College.”