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Northeastern to mark the significance of the Juneteenth holiday with these events

Northeastern will hold several events on the Boston and Seattle campuses commemorating Juneteenth, the end of slavery in the United States. Illustration by Hannah Moore/Northeastern University

Juneteenth, short for June 19, is an annual holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States. People across the country have commemorated the day that celebrates freedom since the late 1800s, but it has taken on renewed urgency following recent nationwide protests over policing methods and the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black people. 

Last year, on June 19, 2020, Northeastern suspended operations on all of its campuses and engaged in what Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern, called an important “day of reflection.” This year, Northeastern will begin formally recognizing Juneteenth as a university holiday. Because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, Juneteenth will be celebrated on Friday.

All members of the Northeastern community are encouraged to participate in the following events happening virtually and in-person on the Boston and Seattle campuses this week.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021 6:30-7:30 p.m. EDT

The reading will feature student artists and nationally-acclaimed contributors to Northeastern’s Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality & the Arts, published by the university’s Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service.

Location: Northeastern University Sacred Space, 200 Ell Hall, Boston, MA, and virtually via Zoom. In-person attendees are asked to RSVP to the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service, Those interested in participating virtually should register here.


Thursday, June 17, 2021 11:30am-1:30 p.m. EDT

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Annette Gordon-Reed, author of On Juneteenth, delivers keynote remarks, followed by a presentation by J. Keith Motley, consultant president and CEO of the Urban League of Massachusetts, and a 1978 Northeastern graduate.

There will also be a panel discussion on the social, educational, and spiritual legacy of slavery and efforts to eradicate systemic and institutional barriers to full equity and inclusion. The speakers are:

Please register for this virtual event here.


Thursday, June 17, 2021 2:00-4:00 p.m. EDT

The event will showcase music, food, African dance, and exhibits from local Boston businesses and Northeastern’s Cultural Centers will be held. Highlights include a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by Vartsy Noel, a nursing student at Northeastern.

The John D. O’Bryant African American Institute will host opportunities to learn more about Juneteenth in the Cabral Center. The first 250 arrivals will receive a free copy of Annette Gordon-Reed’s book, On Juneteenth.  

Location: Centennial Common and the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute.


Friday, June 18, 2021 Noon PDT

The Seattle campus hosts an outdoor luncheon to celebrate the passage of a new law making Juneteenth an official Washington State holiday. Food and drinks will be provided by a local Black-owned business. 

Please RSVP on SAIL by Wednesday, June 16 to ensure enough food is ordered

Location: Lake Union Park, Seattle, WA

For media inquiries, please contact

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