UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

VIDEO: President Armacost celebrates Juneteenth, Pride

Rich diversity pulls community together, makes campus ‘truly special’ place, president says 

In his most recent video update to the UND campus, President Armacost came to us from the offices and spaces of Student Diversity & Inclusion in the Memorial Union to talk about the Juneteenth holiday and celebrations of Pride at UND.

President Armacost recorded his message on Monday, June 19, and he highlighted the day as Juneteenth, what many consider to be the “second Independence Day for our nation.” In his video, he also explains the history of the day, which dates back to dates to when Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger entered Texas and proclaimed all enslaved Americans to be free with the right to property.

“This date became known as the anniversary of something special – again a second Independence Day,” Armacost says. “Later it became known as Juneteenth Day, an important celebration within the Black Community of our nation and a chance to celebrate what it means to have opportunity and freedom.”

The President also reminds the campus community that the ideals of the holiday are juxtaposed against decades and centuries of difficult realities for many Americans, and repeats the words spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, about how America “still had not yet cashed the promissory note,” put forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, to Black Americans.

“It’s important for us to keep making strides to fight for fairness and justice to make sure that everyone on our campus has opportunities to succeed, and that they are treated with the dignity and respect that they so deserve,” the president says in the video.

In addition, just as he’s walking through the Pride Center at UND, the President talks about “Pride Week” on campus, which UND celebrated last week, and that Pride Week is a subset of “Pride Month” — during the month of June. The President calls the Pride Center an important place of gathering and community building on campus.

“I think it’s important for us to recognize the significant contributions that the LGBTQ+ community has made to society and the importance of continuing to offer opportunities for people of this community – just like everyone else on campus – to get an amazing education here at UND and to be treated with that full sense of respect,” says Armacost.

The President goes on to talk about the importance of providing gathering and advocacy spaces for people of like backgrounds and perspectives, but also stresses that the University’s efforts on inclusion are NOT about “separating people in pods.”

“Our efforts on inclusion are about bringing people together,” Armacost says. “I would hope that all of us would take the chance to reflect upon what months, or weeks or days like this (Juneteenth, Pride Week, Pride Month, etc.) mean, and how we as a campus can appreciate the rich diversity that exists and the various backgrounds that pull us together and make us a truly special group here at the University of North Dakota.”

Learn more about inclusion efforts taking place at UND by visiting the webpages for Student Diversity & Inclusion. Student Diversity & Inclusion spaces are located on the second floor of the UND Memorial Union.