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What Juneteenth teaches us, reminds us

Black man wearing glasses, in suit, Rod Kelley
Rod Kelley '06, assistant dean of student conduct and interim director of the Center for Inclusive Communities

In a guest column contributed by Furman University’s Rod Kelley, assistant dean of student conduct and interim director of the Center for Inclusive Communities, Kelley urges readers to celebrate Juneteenth as more than a pivotal day in the arc of American history.

The 2006 Furman business administration alumnus reflects on how the anniversary of June 19, 1865 – the day the Emancipation Proclamation became a reality – is an opportunity to look at the racial conflicts that still remain in our society. Kelley notes how spaces like Greenville’s Unity Park represent freedoms once denied to Black Americans. In the Sunday, June 19, edition of The Greenville News, he admonishes us to “engage in justice work that identifies policies and practices that disenfranchise others,” and to “develop an awareness of marginalized voices and actively engage in having those voices heard.”

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