President H. James Williams, Ph.D. commemorates Juneteenth as a day of hope and inspiration, as we celebrate the extraordinary contributions Black Americans have made to our country.

Mount St. Joseph juneteenth graphic

Dear Mount Community:

On Monday, June 19th, the Mount will celebrate its second annual Juneteenth Holiday.  Juneteenth commemorates the end of the Civil War and the date of the order, issued by Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army, on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas.  Of course, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, passed on January 31, 1865 (and ratified on December 6, 1865), actually abolished slavery in the United States of America.  Still, Juneteenth is a day of hope and inspiration – a second Independence Day, if you will – with celebrations that recognize the extraordinary contributions Black Americans have made to our country.  For many, it is also a time a of deep reflection.

I encourage you to make time on Monday to reflect on the heritage of Black Americans and to consider what you can do to foster inclusion at the Mount for Black persons and all who are marginalized.  Juneteenth is a reminder that each of us can make a conscious decision to listen more, judge less, include others, and take steps in our everyday lives to lead to a more just and equitable world.

We live in a time when diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and the LBGTQ+ community are facing unprecedented legislative attacks across the country.  As I have shared previously, the Mount “stands at the ready” to take immediate action should any national or state legislative proposals attempt to limit the University’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus; in the exercise of our fundamental Catholic beliefs; or in our shared mission of respect and concern for all persons and diversity of cultures and beliefs.  As we look forward to the 2023-2024 Academic Year, the Mount continues to invest in DEI training, programming, and initiatives, with a focus on every member of the Mount Community feeling respected, safe, and supported.  Under no circumstances will attempts by others deter this institution from continuing to take steps to end racism, disparities, and social injustice. 

As we mark the 158th anniversary of Juneteenth on Monday, I will make time to reflect on the pain and progress of the last year, celebrate the contributions of so many students, and faculty and staff members who are helping us to do better, and recommit to the important work ahead.  Please join me.

May God continue to bless each of us and our families – and may God continue to bless Mount St. Joseph University… 



H. James Williams, Ph.D.