Following last year’s passing of legislation to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday in the U.S., University of Phoenix has instituted Juneteenth as an annual, paid company holiday for its staff and time off from classes for its students. The University recognized Juneteenth as a company holiday for the first time on June 20, 2022, marking the latest development in its range of diverse and equitable activities, practices and ongoing dedication to offering an inclusive environment for all.

Juneteenth Holiday Allows Time for Reflection

On June 19, 1865, over 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state of Texas were granted freedom by executive decree. This day went on to be recognized as “Juneteenth” and celebrated annually.

Though President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 and the 13th Amendment on February 1, 1865, it wasn’t until June 1865 that word of emancipation reached all those who were enslaved. The Union Army landed in Galveston, Texas to deliver the news. Over a century later, the death of George Floyd in May 2020 prompted the social justice movement that highlighted systemic racism against Black U.S. citizens to take further action, and the federal government established Juneteenth, or June 19, as a permanent federal holiday.

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The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, S. 475, came into place 156 years to the day since the last of the enslaved people in Texas were liberated. The federal holiday commemorates Juneteenth and the history and culture of African Americans.

University of Phoenix’s Commitment to All Students

University of Phoenix is dedicated to creating diverse, equitable and inclusive environments where students can achieve a sense of belonging and reach their potential. With consistent efforts to prioritize the needs of diverse students, the University’s faculty and staff work to increase students’ access to and participation in higher education opportunities through active employee resource groups (ERGs), community engagement and the regular review of the curriculum for bias and inclusive content.

Cheryl Naumann, chief human resources officer of University of Phoenix, has remarked on the establishment of Juneteenth as a company public holiday for its staff and students, stating that the University creates opportunities to have transparent and honest conversations led by staff, faculty and students about how the University can honor and uplift communities and those it serves.

Making Juneteenth a university  holiday creates space and time for reflection, honoring individual experiences and always considering what more can be done.

University of Phoenix’s Commitment to Inclusivity

As part of its ongoing dedication to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment, University of Phoenix held its first Inclusive Leadership Summit in April 2022. The event welcomed over 1,400 participants from more than 22 countries and included a career fair with over 35 featured companies. This inaugural event, “Creating the Intentional Leader of Today, Tomorrow and Beyond,” helped participants reimagine how to impact diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in their careers and workplaces.

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The University’s Office of Educational Equity, which serves students, alumni, the community and alliances, also holds Educational Equity webinars each month. These webinars create a space for important conversations about equity and inclusion in the classroom, workplace and community. The latest Educational Equity webinar took place on June 16, 2022.

Additionally, the University provides an Inclusive Café, which is a virtual place for staff to come together, connect and build community through biweekly sessions that focus on diverse perspectives and generate compassionate conversation.

University of Phoenix faculty and staff also have the opportunity to participate in an annual and voluntary 21-Day Equity Habit Building Challenge. The challenge enables participants to come together to develop a deeper understanding of how inequity and racism affect individuals and communities.

Furthermore, University of Phoenix’s faculty and staff collaborate with ERGs, the Center for Workplace and Diversity Inclusion Research (CWDIR), which is part of the College of Doctoral Studies and a variety of departments throughout the University to design programs and services that encourage understanding and appreciation of diverse perspectives.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is dedicated to advancing its adult and nontraditional learners’ educational goals and aiding these students as they navigate the career options and degree programs that best suit their interests and can lead them to fulfilling careers. The University’s degree programs are aligned with a number of in-demand career paths including in cybersecurity, nursing and business, and they offer flexible start dates, online classes and many scholarship opportunities so all students can earn their degrees.

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In addition, University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates provides the resources necessary for these individuals to be prepared when entering the workforce for no additional charge. These services include resume and interview support, education and networking opportunities and career guidance. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.

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