Warner School and East hold Juneteenth celebrations Higher Education Educational Leadership The University of Rochester-East Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) and Warner School of Education hosted Juneteenth celebrations to commemorate the freedom of enslaved people in the United States at the end of the Civil War. On Thursday, June 17, East Upper & Lower Schools scholars and staff enjoyed sunny weather and outdoor activities during the school’s first annual Juneteenth Celebration. The afternoon event featured live music, games for students to enjoy, new East Juneteenth t-shirts for everyone, and more. Graduating seniors also picked up their graduation caps and gowns and lawn signs, celebrating and marking the end of another successful school year. Both East and Warner planned and kicked off the celebrations ahead of what is now a federal holiday on June 19.“Juneteenth is one of the oldest nationally celebrated commemorations of our country’s ending of slavery and long struggle for equal rights—a struggle that continues to this day,” says East Superintendent Shaun Nelms, an associate professor and the William & Sheila Konar Director of the Center for Urban Education Success at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education. “Culturally responsive schools and districts honor, support, and commemorate the diversity, customs and traditions, and rich histories representative of their communities and the entire country. By doing so, their students, families, and staff feel a sense of respect and belonging.” East and the Rochester City School District observed the holiday on Friday, June 18 with the day off from school. View Spectrum News coverage. The Warner School hosted a Juneteenth Celebration on Wednesday, June 16. The virtual afternoon event featured Warner’s Director of Equity and Inclusion Anika Simone Johnson (Dr. J), EdD, and guest speaker Gwendolyn J. Clifton, a Rights Advocate at Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Service Office (DDSO), who shared the history of Juneteenth, helped participants to experience future events, and answered questions. “We celebrate Juneteenth to teach and understand our U.S. history, focus on work to dismantle systems of oppression, and rejoice within our culture to fully live, love, and be joyful among our beautiful people and community,” Johnson explains. “We are black excellence.” View photos from the Juneteenth Celebration at East.