2021 CCIE Juneteenth Message


Dear Saint Mary's College Community,

I want to introduce you to Miss Opal Lee, known as the grandmother of Juneteenth (short for June Nineteenth.) Some of you may be familiar with Miss. Lee, after all, she is largely responsible for the June 15, 2021 unanimous United States Senate approval of a Bill to make Juneteenth a Public Holiday.  Miss. Opal reminds us of the significance of June 19, 1865, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States - more than two years AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation.  

In a June 18, 2020 NYTimes article written by Julia Carmel, Miss. Opal stated that:

The difference between Juneteenth and the 4th of July? Woo, girl! The fact is none of us are free till we’re all free. Knowing that slaves didn’t get the word for two and a half years after the emancipation, can’t you imagine how those people felt? They’d been watching — that’s what they call Watch Night services — every New Year’s, thinking freedom was coming. And then to find out they were free, even two and a half years after everybody else.

Miss. Opal is 94 years old this year. I honor her for her faith, activism, organizing, and fierce determination. At Saint Mary’s College we can take a page from Miss. Opal’s book; strength and perseverance will lead to real change and lives will be transformed in the process. Let us remember that “None of us are free until We’re all free.” As we reflect on the significance of Juneteenth in this historical moment, let us remember all who came before us to pave the way, and let us reflect on our Lasallian Core Principles which provide us loving guidance in the midst of challenges and triumphs. 

Onward and Upward, 

Kathy Littles, PhD

Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Senior Diversity Officer