With Renewed Commitment to Serve Our Black Community Members

Dear Cal State East Bay community,

Last week the CSU concluded its inaugural Juneteenth Symposium, jointly hosted by CSU Dominguez Hills. Our campus had amazing representation at this hybrid event, with two dozen Cal State East Bay students, faculty and staff attending in person and many more online. 

Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Juneteenth Independence Day and Black Independence Day. It marks June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery in Texas. Note this occurred more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863. Viewed in all its complexity, Juneteenth is both a celebration of freedom and one more symptom of the anti-Black racism that has persisted for generations. 

It is fitting that the CSU Juneteenth Symposium soundly reminded us all that our work to end anti-Black racism has only begun.

I am heartened that our CSU community enthusiastically attended and were fully engaged at the Juneteenth Symposium. I was honored to be a small part of the candid and raw conversations that occurred in the last couple of days. It was emotional to see so many who care deeply coming together, having open conversations and affirming our commitment to improvement on many levels. I am frustrated at the slow pace of change that inhibits our Black students’ ability to attend and complete college. I am disheartened that trauma for past and current aggressions — large and small — continues to wreak on our students, our neighbors and our family. We can do better. We must do better. 

Please join me in thanking the Cal State East Bay representatives who attended the CSU Juneteenth Symposium. I know we can depend on them to catalyze our efforts and ensure that we create action. Our student attendees were Dalyce Brown, Ajay Kashyap Chandrashekar, Jasmine Domino, Edward Hill, Anna Jackson, Alexander Lee, Cindi Lojewski, Ervin Palma, Jocelyn-Lisbeth Sanchez, Rontray Sherman and Karla Vazquez. Faculty and staff participants included Monika Brooks, Paul Carpenter, Steven Cleveland, Hongwei Du, Cookie Garrett, Saleem Gilmore, Walt Jacobs, Anthony Jackson, Balvinder Kumar, LaRon McCoy, Dana Rucker and Anndretta Wilson. 

One person shared with me how impactful these two days were for her. “Recognizing that there are disparities in how and whether our students access education is only a first step in moving the needle. These two days have been an important reminder that the work is ongoing and fluid, and made me feel more prepared and motivated to approach and uplift our students, staff and faculty that are under-served and underrepresented.”

Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021. It is not yet a state holiday, but the California legislature is considering making it a paid holiday for state employees, including those who work for the CSU. 

I hope we all embody the spirit of this inaugural Juneteenth event with renewed commitment to support and serve our Black community members. 

Most sincerely,

Cathy Sandeen


June 20, 2022