CHICO, Calif. - The Chico State Associated Students Board of Directors will be offering employees a paid holiday for Juneteenth.
Chico’s Associated Students is the first student auxiliary in the 23-campus system to honor Juneteenth as a paid holiday.
45 states and the District of Colombia (D.C.) have observed Juneteenth Independence Day as a day to recognize the emancipation of all slaves in the U.S.
Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th. That is the date in 1865 that many slaves in the Southwest who were unaware of their freedom were notified that they were no longer enslaved under U.S. law.
They were originally freed on January 1, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared, “Slaves within any State, or designated part of a State… in rebellion… shall be then... thenceforward, and forever free.”
According to Chico State’s Associated Students, Harvard University; Georgetown University; Columbia University; the University of Virginia; Towson University; Drake University; and Loyola Marymount University now recognize Juneteenth as a day of observance.
In 2021 Juneteenth falls on a weekend, so Chico’s Associated Students will observe the holiday on Thursday, June 17, 2021.
Chico State is the second-oldest campus in the CSU system. The 23-campus system is the larger higher education system in the entire U.S.
The charge to establish the new holiday was led by 2021 AS President Bre Holbert. The goal was party to set an example for the rest of the CSU system.
Holbert said that “the culture, transgressions, and success of the Black community need a day of recognition, celebration, and reflection regardless of the demographics of our campuses or auxiliaries.”
Holbert and the Board of Directors of the Associated Students said the holiday has been established in response to ”the erratic, state-sponsored, unjustified murders of Black people, including but not limited to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Stephon Clark.”
There is a need locally to also honor a student who attended Chico State in the past and was persecuted due to his race. Black student activist Marc Anthony Thompson was killed in 2014 in a remote area northeast of Oroville. His body was found in a burned-out car.
Anthony was the 2012-2013 Commissioner of Multicultural Affairs for the Chico State Associated Students. His job was to actively advocate for diversity on campus and through campus programs.
A documentary was made about the unsolved murder of Anthony by Chico filmmaker Trudy Duisenberg. It is called "Obligated to the Truth."
Duisenberg said when her film was released in 2019 to Action News Now, "Sadly it's like, 'say his name." Why do we use that phrase, 'say the name?' So they get recognition. So we acknowledge that a crime happened."
Here is the entire documentary, thanks to filmmaker Trudy Duisenberg.
Here is an interview with the filmmaker from the Action News Now archives. Duisenberg's Silk Scroll Productions recently was honored with a Silver Telly Award in the Social Justice Category at the 42nd Telly Awards global competition. She also received the Best Documentary award from the Chico Independent Film Festival in 2019.