On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth became the eleventh American federal holiday. Every year since, Wilbur Wright College has been marking the holiday with a special event.

The inaugural Juneteenth Celebration and Reflection ceremony in 2021 had a music theme and featured contributions from City Colleges of Chicago instructors, students, authors, writers, bloggers, and a gospel radio host. Despite being a virtual event, it gained momentum in the following years.

This year’s event will feature a performance from a City Colleges music professor, discussions with faculty and staff about the importance of Juneteenth, and an iconic MacArthur’s soul food meal.

“This event shows that Wright values Juneteenth as a national holiday, and we want everyone to come together,” Wright College Interim Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs Gabe Estill said. “I feel like we’re recognizing something of vital significance. It showcases a struggle but also the great contributions people of color have made to American society. I’m just proud to be a part of it.”

The event will take place on Tuesday, June 18 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. in the faculty dining room at Wright. This is the event’s fourth year, with plans to continue the tradition next year.

“I am delighted that Wright College provides a space for the college community to gather, learn, and engage in meaningful conversations,” Dean of Student Services Romell Murden-Woldu said. “I hope individuals leave the celebration empowered to advocate for equality and embrace the significance of this historical event. This day of celebration reminds all of us that the work to create a more just society continues.”

The following Wilbur Wright faculty members contributed to the planning of this year’s event: Director of Workforce Partnerships Jenetta O’Neal, Director of Student Activities Kate Ordinario, Associate Dean of Advising and Transfer Maria Llopiz, Executive Director of Workforce Equity Initiative Onie Riley, Dean of Student Services Romell Murden-Woldu, Director of Academic Support Services Jermaine Reed, Clinical Director of the Wellness Center Hoyam Tanon, College Registrar Sherrea Washington, College Director of Special Projects Yeisha Betancourt-Ruiz, and Wright College Interim Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs Gabe Estill.

Juneteenth recognizes June 19, 1865. This is the day when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned they were freed by President Abraham Lincoln.