Tomorrow, millions of people across our country will celebrate Juneteenth, the date in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Confederate-controlled Texas to announce and enforce the emancipation of enslaved people throughout the state. Ever since, June 19 has been commemorated as the date—almost two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation—on which Black people in America were finally freed from captivity.
This year, our commemoration of this historic date is especially meaningful, as it takes place against a backdrop of nationwide protests against police violence and racism that were sparked by the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
The events of these past weeks have led us to think more profoundly about systematic bias, especially as it affects the scientific enterprise. It is very important for the Carnegie Institution for Science to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. For that reason, we are encouraging all staff to observe Juneteenth tomorrow, either as a paid day off or as a day of special reflection while at work.
Juneteenth is an important and joyous day in the history of our nation, and it is deeply appropriate for us to celebrate Juneteenth together tomorrow. I hope you will take this opportunity to think about the ways we can work individually and as an organization to make Carnegie a truly welcoming, supportive, inspiring environment for everyone who shares our mission and our commitment to excellence.
Dr. Eric D. Isaacs
President Carnegie Science