EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)—Songs of hope and celebration echoed across the Michigan state campus today. It was all part of the university’s first-ever Juneteenth commemoration.
“It’s significant. Today is something different. It’s extremely important for our community,” said Chief of Police at MSU, Marlon Lynch.
“It is an opportunity to reflect. To reflect on the past, to reflect on the previous experiences of black people in this nation, but it also provides an opportunity to celebrate. To celebrate our successes collectively as African Americans but also as a nation.” said Chief Diversity Officer, Jabbar Bennett.
Hundreds packed in to take in the celebration and to listen and learn about the history of what today means, including former student Stratton Lee, who says today’s event is a moment he is proud of.
“It’s very major for me. When I was a student here we didn’t celebrate Juneteenth on campus. Students didn’t even talk about it or know much about it, so to be able to be here in this time to celebrate with all the people that we have here it’s meaningful and it brings the community together,” said Lee.
He knows there’s still a long way to go. That’s why now as a faculty leader he’s working to make sure the campus continues to grow by allowing current students the opportunity to be more engaged in the process and advancement of diversity.
“I would love to see you know people really do the work that is necessary to do the work to continue to make MSU more inclusive more engaging, and more support for all of our students.”
Leaders say they hope that people today understand a clear message.
“We have opportunities to celebrate as a community, and we should always remember what has occurred, take these opportunities to unite and move forward and we just can’t forget,” said Lynch.