On the Occasion of Juneteenth
A Time of Remembrance and Action

A year ago this month, the U.S. federal government officially declared June 19 a holiday in observance of Juneteenth. On that day in 1865, enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, learned from Union Army soldiers that the Civil War had ended and they were no longer legally enslaved. That news came late—two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was ratified on January 1, 1863.

In 2021, the swift passage of bills that created the holiday did not allow time for Fielding to officially observe Juneteenth (a blend of the words June and nineteenth). This year, we are honored to commemorate Juneteenth for the first time as a global learning community and with the public on June 17.

The country’s oldest acknowledgement of emancipation is more than a century old, but it is not just about Black history. It is American history. Looking globally, we know that the spirit of Juneteenth extends beyond the United States.

Our observance of this important day provides an opportunity for our community to reflect on freedom gained; and the long struggle for parity African Americans continue to face in this country. The continued persistence of white supremacy, the racial wealth gap, unequal education, and persistent health disparities are among the barriers that African American and other marginalized groups contend with every day.

As a university long committed to social change and advocates for social justice, such challenges remind us that service, through teaching, learning, research, and practice, is imperative—and must never stop. Angela Davis, the 2022 recipient of our Marie Fielder Medal for Social Transformation, reminds us that “hope is a discipline, something to use every day against injustice.” My hope is that every member of the Fielding community will use Juneteenth to reflect on their role in advocating for the equality that all deserve and are promised in a democracy.

Katrina S. Rogers, Ph.D.


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About the Author: Katrina Rogers

Katrina S. Rogers, PhD, is President of Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA, a distinguished graduate school known for adult learners in the fields of clinical psychology, human talent and development, organizational leadership, and education. In the course of her career, she has served the international non-governmental and educational sectors in many roles, including executive, board member, and teacher. She led the European campus for Thunderbird School of Global Management in Geneva, Switzerland for a decade, working with international organizations such as the Red Cross, World Trade Organization, United Nations Development Program, and the European Union. She also developed externships for students at several companies, including Renault, Nestle, and EuroDisney (now Disneyland Paris). She has doctorates in political science and history. In addition to many articles and books focused on organizational leadership in sustainability, Rogers serves on the Boards of the Toda Institute for Global Policy & Peace Research and the Public Dialogue Consortium. She received a Presidential postdoctoral fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation and was a Fulbright scholar to Germany where she taught environmental politics and history. She is currently studying environmental values among leaders that have responsibility for improving sustainability practices in their organizations. These are leaders from the corporate, governmental, and nonprofit sectors. The purpose is to understand how people’s worldviews are brought to bear on the actualization of sustainability work.

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