Loyola University Chicago

Office of the President

Commemorating Juneteenth

June 18, 2020

Dear Loyola Community,

Over the past several weeks, our nation has been engulfed by the public outcry against ongoing racism in our society. This specter of systemic racism shadows our collective commitment to valuing human life, dignity, respect, and equality for all people in our country.

We stand with those peaceful protestors who are reminding us that racism is evil because we are all created in the image of God, and therefore, each person is to be treated with dignity. Some of us have been awakened to the pain that racism causes Black and Brown communities, including members of our own community.

We are grateful to all of those across our University who are expressing their concerns, compassion, thoughts, and ideas, including our student organizations who are putting forth constructive suggestions on what we can do better for each other and the world.

We are listening and we know we have more to do - together.

In our continued commitment toward valuing and respecting differences, and in recognition of landmark changes in our society, Loyola University Chicago recognizes Juneteenth, the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865. Loyola joins many universities and organizations across the country in observing this meaningful holiday that enables our collective reflection on the importance of equality and social justice for everyone.

In recognition of this important and historic event, we are announcing that the University will be closed on Friday, June 19, 2020, and that this holiday will be recognized going forward.

For staff, this is designated as closure pay. We encourage everyone to use this time to deepen your own personal awareness around the importance of Juneteenth to our society, along with how our collective voices and commitment to change can bring about increased equality in social, economic, educational, political, and health-related experiences for everyone.

Loyola remains committed to increasing representation, equity, and equal opportunity in our experiences. Recent communications over the past two weeks have reinforced the need for continuing change and additional support to advance community-building initiatives consistent with our Jesuit mission.

Please join us in answering this call as we support one another, encourage dialogue, and become agents of change for the greater good.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
President

Winifred Williams, PhD
Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer and
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer