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June 16: A message from Lester Arnold regarding the Juneteenth holiday

June 16, 2020

Dear Colleague,

Gov. Ralph Northam has declared Friday, June 19, a state holiday and has ordered all state offices to close in observance of the day.

Juneteenth is the commemoration of the abolition of slavery in Texas, which was the final of the former Confederate states to abolish slavery, and provides an opportunity for the recognition of the significant contributions of African Americans to the Commonwealth and the nation.

As Gov. Northam noted, “I encourage all employers across the Commonwealth to also recognize the importance of this day and take action to celebrate not only the freedom but also the multitude of African American achievements.”

This is an opportunity for reflection, awareness, understanding and education. For those looking for resources, Mason’s own Access to Excellence podcast with School of Integrative Studies professor Wendi Manuel-Scott and Mason library historian George Oberle recounts the student research that led to the idea for the Enslaved People of George Mason memorial scheduled to be unveiled on Mason’s Fairfax Campus in July 2021.

Mason Athletics will release a video Friday with student-athletes reflecting on why Juneteenth is important to them.

And the  Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture also recently  launched an online portal, Talking About Race, to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way these forces shape society. These are but three of many opportunities.

Due to timing of this announcement, I realize it may not be possible for all of our faculty and staff to observe the day on Friday.  As with other scheduled holidays, eligible faculty and staff should record June 19, 2020 as a holiday.*

Thank you for all you do for Mason and the Commonwealth.

Sincerely,

Lester Arnold

Vice President for Human Resources and Payroll

 

*Faculty and staff who are paid on a bi-weekly pay schedule, please note:

  • those that have entered in leave for Friday, June 19, 2020, will be refunded their leave for that day;
  • if you are comp time eligible and working Friday, June 19, 2020, enter in 8 hours of comp time on the next timesheet.  You do not need to submit a corrected timesheet;
  • if you are not eligible for comp time (i.e. administrative/professional faculty), you should work with your supervisor directly to take an alternative day. 
Topics: Juneteenth