A Call to Dismantle Intersecting Oppressions

June 3, 2021

Dear Members of the Harvard Community:

While May graduation celebrations evoke dreams of the future, the month of June calls us backwards to consider our past. Two important historic commemorations take place this month: Juneteenth and Pride.

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States and commemorates the day—June 19, 1865—when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas were finally informed of their freedom.

Over 100 years later, on June 28, 1970, the first U.S. Gay Pride Week and march were held in New York City marking the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising—a spontaneous revolt by members of the BGLTQ+ community standing against police harassment and ongoing raids of the Stonewall Inn, a local gay bar.

These two groups of people, separated by 100 years, are perhaps unlikely kinfolks, though both are part of the history of the struggle for freedom and equity. Today, we pause to celebrate their strength even amidst our ongoing fight to realize their dreams of freedom and equality.

Perhaps there is no better month to recall and engage with the work of dismantling intersecting oppressions than June, and to remind ourselves, as the great poet Audre Lorde told us, that “there are no hierarchies of oppression.” June is the perfect month to reflect and prepare for the work ahead.

We must continue to work against systematic oppression in all its forms—racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and more. This month, I encourage you to honor those who came before us and paved the way through their leadership, resistance, and scholarship. Their work is worthy and deserves our attention.

From June 14-18, there will be a series of events highlighting Juneteenth and celebrating Black freedom, food, and family traditions. Check out the events schedule and learn more about the history of Juneteenth.  

 Although Boston Pride will take place online again this year, our community and commitment are no less vibrant. Throughout the month of June, the Office of BGLTQ+ Student Life  is asking members of the University's BLGTQ+ community to share what Pride means to them and how they are celebrating. Submit your response and photo to be included in the PRIDE at Harvard Instagram campaign.  View a full list of Pride Month events  and learn more about the history of Pride.  

Happy Juneteenth! Happy Pride!

 

In community,

 

___________________

Sherri Ann Charleston

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer