Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: Celebration and Hope
June 17, 2022
This week brings many reasons for celebration and hope. Sunday, June 19, is Juneteenth, commemorating the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform the last of the enslaved people in the Confederacy they were free, two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Sadly, the impact of slavery did not end on that day. Generations in the U.S. have continued to face persistent racism that creates inequality in many areas of daily life. The Juneteenth holiday brings attention to an essential part of U.S. history and sparks critical conversations about what work we have left to do for a more just society.
Our college community recognized Juneteenth yesterday with an excellent program presented by Dr. Rinardo Reddick, Professor Donnie Simmons Jr., Juan-Carlos Piñeiro, and student speaker Razan Mustafa, Vice President of Phi Theta Kappa, who noted, “…Juneteenth is so important for my generation today. Our country still has a lot more work to do for racial and social equality. But we will continue to choose hope over fear just as the enslaved [peoples of America] did. They turned segregated America into a land filled with opportunities. Because of them I can continue to fight for a better future.”
Adding to our myriad resources available to students and the community, Professor Simmons also introduced a Juneteenth resource guide available on the library’s webpages. This new guide features digital content on the history of Juneteenth, scholarly articles, academic videos, and more.
There is more to celebrate this week. Adjunct Professor Lisa Bart in Workforce Development and Community Education’s Project Transition collaborated with the Community Center of Northern Westchester to provide sixteen students with professional attire for school, job interviews, and the workplace. These strides towards equality and opportunity resonate especially because these are hallmarks of the community college mission.
Westchester Community College is here to provide a high-quality, affordable education to EVERYONE in our community, and an education here is still one of the most cost-effective ways to advance academically and professionally. So, while remembering the significance of Juneteenth, take a moment to celebrate this week’s milestones. And remember, we are #WCCHereForYou!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles