Official Statement

Southern Virginia University Observes Juneteenth

Today the Office of the President issued the following letter:

Dear Southern Virginia University Community,

Tomorrow, Friday, June 19, 2020, we will observe Juneteenth or Freedom Day—a national commemoration of the official ending of slavery in the United States. In coordination with Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute, we will be canceling classes and suspending all other University activities for the day.

We invite all to use this holiday not only to pause from typical professional and educational responsibilities, but also to contemplate the significance of this and other recent momentous events, and to consider the changes and improvements still needed in our society to guarantee freedom and equality for all.

During his Emancipation Proclamation Centennial Address, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

“There is but one way to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation. That is to make its declarations of freedom real; to reach back to the origins of our nation when our message of equality electrified an unfree world, and reaffirm democracy by deeds as bold and daring as the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.”

This Juneteenth is a chance for us to reach back and educate ourselves about our history and to learn from it, as well as from one another. It is an opportunity to look inward and consider what each of us can do to make real our nation’s declarations of freedom and to fulfill the following charge recently issued by President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“It behooves each of us to do whatever we can in our spheres of influence to preserve the dignity and respect every son and daughter of God deserves.”

Governor Northam yesterday announced his support for making Juneteenth a state holiday in Virginia. Going forward, we will observe Juneteenth each year as a University-wide day of reflection while we strive to embrace, teach, and promote inclusion, kindness, and tolerance within our community.

Maye we all Love One Another.


Office of the President
Southern Virginia University