Celebrating Juneteenth: A Commitment to Liberty and Equality

**NOTE: MPUSD and its schools will be closed on June 19, 2024, in observance of Juneteenth.**

Juneteenth, the oldest celebration marking the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, represents our collective dedication to freedom and equality as stated in the Constitution of the United States. This holiday commemorates the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, and the 13th Amendment, ratified on December 6, 1865, which abolished slavery.

Despite the Emancipation Proclamation, many enslavers in the South ignored the order. It wasn't until June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, that the last enslaved African Americans were freed. This event, now celebrated as Juneteenth, occurred two and a half years after Lincoln's decree.

While Juneteenth marks the end of slavery, the Black community has continued to face challenges through various forms of systemic oppression. These have included sharecropping, Jim Crow laws, redlining, Black Codes, mass incarceration, exclusionary policies, police violence, and segregation, which have impacted the health, safety, and education of African Americans.

Achieving true liberation from these oppressive systems requires ongoing efforts in education, economics, and politics. This includes improving educational and financial literacy, ensuring equitable access to quality housing, jobs, schools, and services, and eliminating racial disparities in outcomes.

Historically, the contributions and experiences of African Americans have been excluded or misrepresented in textbooks, media, and classrooms. Teaching students about Black history and contemporary issues is essential, as Black history is an integral part of American history.

The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District stands against all forms of oppression and supports the Black community. The district is dedicated to achieving genuine equity, access, and success for its students, employees, and the broader community.

In recognition of this commitment, the MPUSD Board of Education officially commemorates Juneteenth on June 19, 2024, as a day to celebrate emancipation and emphasize the ongoing fight against injustice. The district acknowledges its responsibility to reflect the painful realities of history in its curriculum and to work with the community to address and eliminate inequities within its schools.

We value diversity and stand united against racism and hate, in solidarity with our African American students, educators, staff, and their families. The Board adopted a resolution on May 28, 2024, reaffirming MPUSD’s pledge to support and celebrate Juneteenth, honoring the enduring journey toward freedom and equality.