Northeastern will suspend classes and close administrative and academic offices on all campuses on Monday, June 8, in remembrance of all Black people whose lives have been unjustly taken.
“We will join together in unity with those all around the world who are grieving and angry over persistent injustice toward African American citizens,” Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern, wrote in an announcement on Wednesday.
The recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have prompted protests against racial injustice in all 50 U.S. states and around the globe. Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people in the U.S.
Monday will be a “Day for Reflection, Engagement, and Action” and will begin with an online vigil at 11 a.m. The university will be showcasing art, poetry, and music created by Black artists, and in solidarity with them, in its Instagram story. Follow @Northeastern on Instagram for more information.
At 2 p.m. there will be a Facebook Live screening of Murder in Mobile, an award-winning documentary film that tells the poignant story of a Jim Crow-era hate crime brought to light seven decades later by a Northeastern law student. The work is part of Northeastern’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, which is directed by Margaret Burnham, university distinguished professor of law. Burnham will join a discussion after the film about ways to move forward together.
“We have heard the chorus of raised voices demanding that we make real, at last, the promise of American democracy for the many millions of African Americans who have given so much to build it,” Aoun wrote.
The university is also planning a series of virtual town halls hosted by Uta Poiger, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and James Hackney, dean of the School of Law, who are co-chairs of the Presidential Council on Diversity and Inclusion.
“It is important to note that we won’t always get it right,” Aoun wrote. “We won’t always find the right words. But we must work together to address the pain. We must find the solidarity that we as a society—and as fellow human beings—so desperately need right now. There is no time to waste.”
Aoun also declared June 19 a “Day of Solidarity” across all Northeastern campuses. The day, often referred to as “Juneteenth,” or Freedom Day, marks the day that Union soldiers landed in Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, more than two years after it was signed. More details about this, and other events, will be coming soon.
“We will gather together to listen, to speak, and to engage one another in advancing the cause of justice,” Aoun wrote.