On May 2, Governor Polis signed SB22-139 into law, establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday in Colorado. I applaud this action as it celebrates a critically important moment in American history—the end of slavery—and distinguishes our state as one that learns from history and values and celebrates racial justice, inclusion, and diversity. Please take a minute to read the declaration of the bill that so eloquently lays out the legacy of Juneteenth (link above).
Because June 19 falls on a Sunday this year, we will recognize Juneteenth on Monday (June 20), as we do with other holidays that fall on a Sunday. Please join me in spending part of your day on June 19 or June 20 celebrating and educating yourself on this history and considering what you can do to make our world a more just and equitable place for everyone.
As you know, our Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is committed to eliminating equity gaps and celebrating the differences of our students, staff, faculty, and community members. CCCS is an organization where diverse perspectives, cultures, and values are accepted, made visible, and celebrated. We are characterized by an infinite variety of languages, ethnicities, national origins, races, values, political affiliations, religions, economic conditions, gender representations, philosophies, and other qualities that define us as individuals but should not separate us from our common humanity. Honoring Juneteenth as an important but often overlooked event in our nation’s history is one small and overdue step in that direction.
Expanding Community and Parental Academic Leave
In addition to the recognition of Juneteenth, we are establishing another means for promoting equity and diversity. In consultation with the college Presidents, I have expanded Community and Parental Academic Leave (up to 18 hours of paid leave) to include activities associated with celebrating and honoring the dozens of holidays and observances that celebrate diversity, equity, and our nation’s historical milestones related to those values. Expanding this type of leave to include activities associated with equity will provide CCCS employees with greater flexibility to participate in observances and holidays that are important to them. Please consult with your HR office for more details about Community and Parental Academic Leave.
Thank You for Advancing Equity Across CCCS
As you know, our Colorado Community College System is deeply committed to expanding educational opportunities and success for all students. Through our equity and inclusion work, we are focused on erasing disparities in college access, enrollment, and completion by focusing on the whole student, forming lasting relationships and creating educational opportunities without barriers. As we close this spring semester, I want to thank you for all your hard work and for all you do to make CCCS a model of equity.
Joe Garcia, CCCS Chancellor