Cal State Fullerton commemorated Juneteenth, a federal holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, Friday, June 17. The ceremony started with the playing of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won
Stony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died
Yet with a steady beat
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered
Out from the gloomy past
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast
God of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way
Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light
Keep us forever in the path, we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee
Shadowed beneath Thy hand
May we forever stand
True to our God
True to our native land
Our native land
The ceremony at the flagpole in front of Langsdorf Hall featured speakers including Cecil Chik, interim assistant vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion; and Moe Miller, lecturer in criminal justice and co-president of the Black Faculty and Staff Association.
Love Is Justice in Action
“For the past two days, I have had the pleasure of attending the CSU Inaugural Juneteenth Symposium,” said Chik. “It was a place and space for pre-flection, reflection, and for me, a time for planning how our work at Cal State Fullerton can move into a place of action for racial equity.
“The symposium also reminded me of my own personal reason for why I am committed to doing this work. Dr. Cornel West reminded the audience that the quest for truth, goodness and beauty should be laid upon the foundation of love. For me, this means love for collective humanity and love for individuals so that their humanity can be recognized. I am personally committed to leading this work with love, compassion and empathy.
“But what does that look like? I want to share a powerful reminder that Dr. West shared at the symposium. An audience member asked Dr. West how we do this work from a place called love. His answer was a simple reminder that love is justice in action. So, on this day when we honor history, I am also optimistic about a future rooted in love through justice.”
We Hear You. We See You. Where Do We Need to Go?
“I appreciate this ceremony because it sends a message that we do appreciate and care about Black students, staff and faculty,” said Miller. “It says, ‘We hear you. We see you. Where do we need to go?’
“Many members of the Black community struggle or feel like we don’t belong. But being on this campus is a calling for me,” she continued. “Maybe that’s why the students call me Auntie Moe. We need to let our precious students know that we honor and appreciate them. They face challenges across America and on campus. Some come to me crying and that makes me ‘salty.’ We all need to work together to make this a protected place for Black students.”
Miller noted that a CSU student trustee (2019-20), Maryana Khames, was responsible for encouraging CSU campuses to celebrate Juneteenth activities on campus.
“People would say to her, ‘Why are you doing this? You’re not Black.’ That demonstrates we all have a ways to go…because that shouldn’t matter,” she said. “This is something we all need to work on.”