UNL Hosts Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration Monday

June 20, 2022, 2 p.m. ·

Nkenge Friday stands in front of UNL's Multicultural Center
Nkenge Friday, the assistant vice chancellor for strategic initiatives at UNL's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, stands in front of the school's multicultural center. (Photo by Will Bauer, Nebraska Public Media News)

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The University of Nebraska-Lincoln organized its first-ever Juneteenth celebration on Monday afternoon.

Hosted by UNL’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a few hundred gathered outside the school’s union to celebrate and remember with snow cones, music and educational posters.

"It really sheds light, perhaps for those who may not be aware, of a very traumatic but also painful history," said Nkenge Friday, the diversity office’s assistant vice chancellor. "It’s a way of not only educating us but also to activate activism. To think about ways we can support minority owned businesses – ways we could support the Black citizens in our state."

Juneteenth, officially recognized by the federal government last year, is the oldest commemoration of slavery’s end in America. UNL organized its event the day the federal government recognized the holiday this year, June 20.

Monday’s event was just one of many recent events and initiatives from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which aims to not only inform with events like the Juneteenth celebration but also implement inclusive policies at UNL. Friday said the university plans to make the Juneteenth celebration an annual event.