Amilcar Shabazz

Juneteenth officially recognized as state holiday thanks to efforts by UMass community

For the first time in state history, Juneteenth was recognized as an official Massachusetts holiday. UMass Amherst’s Amilcar Shabazz, professor of history and Africana studies in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, led the effort to make Juneteenth a state holiday, and State Representative Bud Williams of Springfield, a UMass Amherst alumnus, introduced the legislation that made it official. “Today, confronted with stark inequities in the criminal justice system, educational and economic injustice, and concerted efforts in many states to restrict voting, I am hopeful that the recognition of Juneteenth raises awareness of the work we must all do to create a more perfect union,” noted Chancellor Subbaswamy, “and reinforces within us all the essential truth that Black Lives Matter.” Learn more.