SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Mission College will close its campus on Friday, June 19 as part of a day of reflection for Juneteenth, the end of slavery in 1865.
"We are aligned in believing that racism and discrimination are built into the core of our institutions—including education. We are aligned in the determination to take action," said Mission College President Daniel Peck in a message to the College. "Let’s start with critical self reflection and leveraging this moment to recognize our own biases as well as the privileges and entitlements we possess."
Mission and West Valley College will also paint "Be the Change" in 20-foot letters at the front of their campuses in the coming weeks.
"Admittedly, I was moved by the mayor of Washington D.C. and acknowledge that this gesture is small in comparison to the equity work done each day in the classrooms and offices across our campuses," said Chancellor Brad Davis in a letter to both colleges. "I hope that we will all walk across the letters each day and be inspired to end institutional racism in this country."
Known as General Order No. 3, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army read orders in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 that stated, "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free." It announced the total emancipation of slaves, most notably in Texas, which was slower to adapt to the Emancipation Proclamation, issued two and a half years prior during the Civil War (1861-65).
Juneteenth is a combination of June and 19th, the day of which the order was issued. Granger and his 2000 federal troops occupied Texas to make the order. In December, 1865 the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery was ratified by the required number of states, further ending slavery.
"Be the Change" comes from former President Barak Obama, who said "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
The District has also joined the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center’s California Community College Equity Leadership Alliance to better achieve equity goals and inclusion.