Dear Montserrat Community,

Last year, Montserrat declared Juneteenth a permanent holiday as did the federal government. Juneteenth is a day of celebrating Independence for the African American community. I think it is important to remind our community that this is not a new holiday. African American communities have been observing this day for more than 150 years. So, you may ask, why now? Why are we now celebrating and declaring this day as a federal holiday? There is no good explanation. It should have happened a long time ago. 

The destruction and violence we have seen over the years and now in recent years over racial equality continues to rise. This moment in time is pivotal to the future of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB). We are learning, educating, and re-dedicating ourselves to create change. This change does not happen overnight, but in our community and communities far and wide we are seeing small improvements, but I recognize that we need to pick up the pace. 

Our plans to continue our campus discussions in all its forms and venues for next year are an exciting set of opportunities for engagement and to allow ourselves the ability to educate and to be educated. I hope everyone takes advantage of these opportunities and also help our community identify further areas of exploration or ways to engage. 

Last week, the Boston City Council issued a formal apology for the city’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. The council approved a resolution which will dedicate policies and efforts to repair the past and prevent harm. More locally, Gloucester will celebrate Juneteenth with a Festival at the Cape Ann Museum

In New York City, the Met is exploring the anti-slavery art of sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux that was originally a reaction to the emancipation of 1846 in France. The exhibition is called Fictions of Emancipation: Carpeaux Recast. The exhibition, as the publication the Guardian describes it, is revisiting the popularity of anti-slavery art with a critical eye on what is being shown and why. Many have viewed it and come away with more questions which is a start of another series of important conversations. A further description and details can be found here: https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2022/carpeaux-recast

Please find some resources below and use this day of remembrance as an opportunity to learn, grow and create change. 

Be well,
President Kurt 

Celebrations happening around New England:

https://www.enterprisenews.com/story/news/2022/06/16/new-england-juneteenth-2022-celebrations/7556287001/
https://www.salemnews.com/news/juneteenth-events-to-be-held-around-the-north-shore/article_1c3194a8-e6a5-11ec-8383-070b584f515e.html

Resources: 

https://nmaahc.si.edu/juneteenth
https://www.teachforamerica.org/celebrate-juneteenth
https://thejuneteenthfoundation.com/resources/