Oregon State University says it will recognize June 18th as a college holiday on June 18, 2021, as part of the university's commitment to lead change and dismantle systemic racism
June 18th recognizes the end of slavery in the United States in 1865, two years after the adoption of the Emancipation Proclamation, and is a long-standing African-American holiday that honors Black history, culture, resistance, and resilience.
Charlene Alexander, OSU vice president and chief diversity officer, said:
“The treatment, experiences, and struggles of African Americans in Oregon are well documented.
“ We encourage all employees and OSU students to ob serve this day in support of Black Americans and a commitment to end systemic racism. ”
The university linked the announcement to the guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
Following Tuesday's verdict, the university held an in-person and virtual event where black members of the university community spoke about the profound effect racism has on their lives.
Earlier that day, a Minneapolis jury convicted Chauvin of all counts of murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death.
Floyd's death sparked protests around the world against political brutality, police racism, and lack of police accountability.
The Oregon state decision aligns with the Oregon House of Representatives' passage of HB 2168, which calls for June 19th to be a paid state holiday. This legislation is supported by Governor Kate Brown. If approved by the Oregon Senate, the state's holiday recognition could go into effect in 2022.