A Message from President Gormley on Juneteenth
Dear Duquesne University community,
On Thursday, President Biden signed into law a bill that has made Juneteenth a federal holiday. The bill arrived on his desk with broad bipartisan approval in the House and unanimous approval in the Senate. The urgency of its passing reflects growing national agreement about honoring the full and sometimes difficult history of our country while looking forward to greater opportunity for all.
Juneteenth does more than celebrate freedom. It reminds us of the time and work justice requires. One year ago, I wrote a note reflecting on the Juneteenth holiday amid the enormous outcry following the murder of George Floyd, with the backdrop of a pandemic that stretched longer than most of us expected. The aspirations for greater equity and opportunity that rose to national prominence-and have rightfully stayed there-were reflected in my note.
Since then, time has passed and hard work has continued. Most on campus already know that the Bias Education Response Team is up and running, that we've elevated the Center for Excellence in Diversity and Student Inclusion to a more visible and far-reaching organization, and that we've committed to developing an Action Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
This spring we've taken a significant step forward to develop Duquesne's Action Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by engaging the independent expertise of Fred Brown and Unity Consultants. A highly respected figure in Pittsburgh and the region, Fred Brown's work outside of Unity Consultants is to serve as President and CEO of The Forbes Funds, a philanthropic organization focused on strengthening the management capacity and impact of community nonprofits in the Pittsburgh area. Fred has consulted on and led efforts for inclusivity for nearly 35 years; I look forward to his assistance in listening to our community and creating a framework to identify actions and strategies we can adopt at Duquesne as we work to bolster our inclusive practices in furtherance of our mission as a Catholic and Spiritan University.
In the last two weeks, Duquesne announced plans to return to normal operations this coming fall. On matters of equity and inclusion, however, we plan to drive toward a new standard of excellence, building more connections and greater respect and inclusion for all who've chosen to be part of the Duquesne community.
As we think about the meaning of the Juneteenth holiday, I urge our entire campus community not to lose sight of the time and work justice requires and to find our way to move boldly forward together.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.
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