To commemorate Juneteenth, Roosevelt University professors Natasha Robinson and Heather Dalmage join the national conversation about the holiday's history and modern relevance.
Juneteenth recognizes the day that enslaved African Americans in Texas learned of their freedom, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. In an in-depth interview with Roosevelt, Natasha L. Robinson, Esq., reflects on the history of the holiday and what it means to celebrate today.
"In honor of Juneteenth, where enslaved African Americans did not know of their freedom until two and a half years after the fact, we have an obligation to inform ourselves and others of actions we need to take and language we need to embrace," she writes. "We no longer need to wait until February for Black History Month to see, acknowledge and celebrate African Americans and their accomplishments. We can do it with inspiration and intentionality now."
Robinson is a lecturer in Roosevelt's Government, Law and Justice department. She has been a licensed attorney specializing in criminal defense for 20 years, working as an assistant public defender for the Law Office of Cook County Public Defender for 12 years. Read her full interview here.
On June 19 at 6:30 p.m., sociology professor Heather Dalmage will appear on ABC 7's town hall "Do You Hear Me? A Discussion About Race." Eyewitness News anchor/reporter Cheryl Burton will moderate a panel discussion with Chicago area leaders about the growing call for change after the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, and what the next chapter will be in the struggle for racial equity.
Dr. Dalmage is the director of Roosevelt's Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation, which creates and facilitates scholar activism among Roosevelt students, faculty and members of the community. The institute offers an integrated program of curriculum, research and outreach focused on social justice issues. Other panelists include:
- Otis Moss III, Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ
- Aislinn Pulley, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter Chicago
- Xavier Ramey, CEO of Justice Informed
Watch the panel discussion live at ABC7chicago.com.