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Bell ringing and recommitment to diversity goals mark Juneteenth

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The sounds of freedom will waft across the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus on Friday to commemorate Juneteenth.

The Stephens Hall chimes and the Victory Bell at Cajun Field will ring 19 times beginning at noon.

On June 19, 1865, following the end of the Civil War, enslaved Black people in Texas first learned of their freedom from bondage.

President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years earlier, but slaves remained unaware of their freedom until Union troops arrived to enforce the order.

Texas was the last former Confederate state to have the proclamation announced.

Juneteenth marked the end of slavery in the United States, “but it was also the beginning of Black Americans’ long – and continuing – struggle to achieve social justice and racial equality,” said Dr. Taniecea A. Mallery, UL Lafayette’s executive director of Strategic Initiatives and chief diversity officer.

She continued: “Juneteenth offers the University an opportunity to honor that struggle by recommitting itself to action. Our Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence will help ensure UL Lafayette remains a place that draws strength from difference, that is free of racism, hate or violence, that values every voice, and that recognizes that achieving true and lasting diversity, equity and inclusion requires the work of every member of the University community.”

The plan is available on the Office of Campus Diversity’s website. Read it here.