Published: May 31, 2023

CU Boulder will celebrate Juneteenth and Pride Month in June with events and activities open to students, staff, faculty and community members in Boulder and the surrounding region.


On June 19, the campus will host a Juneteenth commemoration sponsored by the NAACP of Boulder County and the Executive Committee, African American Cultural Events of Boulder County, or ECAACE, that will include a reading and presentation by Memphis educator, school librarian and children’s book author Alice Faye Duncan.

Alice Faye Duncan

Educator, librarian and children’s book author Alice Faye Duncan

Duncan is a National Board Educator and author of several award-winning books for young readers, and her campus performance will incorporate poetry, a cappella singing and a reading from her book Opal Lee and What it Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth.

“We are honored to support important work occurring in our local community and to provide a space on our campus that will enable students, staff, faculty and community members to come together to reflect on the significance of Juneteenth and celebrate the self-determination and resilience of the Black and African American communities,” said David Humphrey, assistant vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at CU Boulder.

The Juneteenth observance is free and open to students, staff, faculty and community members and will take place 1–3 p.m. in the University Memorial Center’s Glenn Miller Ballroom. It is one of many commemorations and celebrations open to the CU community and residents across the region, and additional information about these events is available below.

This year marks the third that ECAACE has led Juneteenth celebrations across Boulder County, said Founder and President Madelyn Strong Woodley.

The events “foster a sense of togetherness and solidarity,” said Strong Woodley, who added, “Celebrating Juneteenth is a chance for us to embrace the values of equality, justice and diversity and to work collectively toward a society where every individual can thrive.”

In solidarity with an official Juneteenth holiday recognition at CU Boulder, the Boulder Faculty Assembly and Staff Council, the campus’s shared governance groups for faculty and staff, sent formal letters to campus leaders in support of a recommendation that no official university events be held on June 19.

In a May 9 letter to the chancellor, the provost and the chief operating officer, the BFA’s executive committee said, "At this time in particular, the histories of Black and other minoritized people are under threat, while these communities are also extremely underrepresented on our campus. It is crucial to acknowledge the historical context of Juneteenth not as 'old history,' but as an invitation for ongoing education and celebration.”

Staff Council leaders shared a similar message in a statement of support and committed themselves to increasing awareness about Juneteenth and to forgoing official meetings and programming, including staff volunteer events, on June 19.

Representatives of the shared governance group encouraged university staff to “educate themselves on this culturally and historically significant holiday” and to participate in campus and community events. They also called on campus supervisors “to work together with their direct reports to identify individual and team needs while allowing their reports the flexibility to celebrate and observe the holiday.”

CU Boulder will remain open June 19, 2023

  • This year, CU Boulder will remain open for classes on June 19 in alignment with the 2023 academic calendar.
  • Students, staff and faculty are encouraged to reflect on the significance of Juneteenth and to avoid scheduling other major campus events.
  • Starting in 2024, the campus will close in accordance with state guidelines to commemorate Juneteenth.
  • Employees who have not yet used the Juneteenth floating holiday for 2023 are encouraged to do so before it expires on June 30.

History of the holiday

Juneteenth became an official state holiday last year, and to align with CU Boulder’s 2022–23 academic calendar, the university offered employees a “floating” Juneteenth holiday rather than a fixed holiday. Starting next year, however, the campus will close in observance of Juneteenth in accordance with state guidelines.

Traditionally observed on June 19, Juneteenth marks the date when the Union Army arrived in Texas—the last state in the Confederacy to keep enslaved people in bondage—to proclaim freedom for Black and African Americans in 1865, approximately two months after the official end of the Civil War and more than two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation.

Observed in Black and African American communities since 1866, the Juneteenth name is a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth.” It became an official state holiday last year when Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a legislative bill into law recognizing the significance of the date in U.S. history and a federal holiday in 2021 when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Act into law.

Pride Month

June is also Pride Month, and earlier this month the CU Boulder Pride Office provided students with information about upcoming events, resources and support services for those who will be living, studying and working in Boulder over the summer and those who will be elsewhere, said Morgan Seamont, the office’s director.

Located in the Center for Inclusion and Social Change in the Division of Student Affairs, the office works to build belonging and community among LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty and raises awareness about issues that affect them.

The Pride Office will remain open through summer, and CU Boulder community members seeking support should direct emails to or or inquire by phone at 303-492-0272.

“We want to make sure LGBTQ+ students are aware of our office,” Seamont said. “We’re here to provide a listening ear for any challenges students, staff or faculty face—whether they are here on campus or away for the summer.”

Among the events the office is sponsoring over the summer is a June 9 ice cream social taking place from noon to 2 p.m. in the CISC lobby on the third floor of the Center for Community (C4C) building. Participants will make signs to carry during the Boulder Pride Festival march on June 11. The office will table at this year’s festival, and Seamont encourages students, staff and faculty to stop by to learn more about the office and to pick up giveaways.

This year, the CU system office will again serve as an official sponsor of the annual Denver PrideFest, parade and 5K run June 24–25 in Civic Center Park near the Colorado Capitol. Students, staff and faculty from all four CU campuses in Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver can volunteer at the university’s official booth.

Juneteenth events

Lafayette Juneteenth Flag-raising Ceremony
June 15, 10 a.m. | 1290 S. Public Rd.

Louisville Juneteenth Flag-raising Ceremony
June 15, 4 p.m. | 749 Main St.

Longmont Juneteenth Flag-raising Ceremony
June 16, 3 p.m. | 350 Kimbark St.

City of Boulder Juneteenth Celebration
June 16, 3–5 p.m. | Sister City Plaza, 1777 Broadway
Features music, a flag-raising ceremony and a reception with remarks by city and other community leaders

Denver Juneteenth Music Festival
June 17–18 | 2720 Welton St.
Features a parade, concert and vendor fair

Erie Juneteenth 2023
June 17, 5–9 p.m. | 500 Briggs St.
Features entertainment, food trucks, vendors and activities for children; a 4 p.m. flag-raising ceremony will take place at 645 Holbrook St.

Greeley Juneteenth 2023, A Family Reunion
June 17, noon–4 p.m. | University of Northern Colorado
Features a Black-owned vendor fair, games and barbecue

Longmont Juneteenth Outdoor Community Celebration
June 17, 1–5 p.m. | Roosevelt Park
Features food and live entertainment

Longmont Theatre Company, Celebrating an Evening of Black Joy and Excellence
June 17, 7 p.m | 513 E. Main St.
Features comedy, music and spoken-word performances

Boulder First Congregational Church Youth Storytelling
June 18, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. | 1128 Pine St.
Features a free, interactive storytelling event for kids with author Nyasha Williams

Longmont Library, Young Writers Masterclass
June 18, 2:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. | 409 Fourth Ave.
Features author Nyasha Williams, who will lead an immersive, creative writing workshop for 16 to 23-year-olds

NAACP and ECAACE Juneteenth Commemoration
June 19, 1–3 p.m. | University Memorial Center, Glenn Miller Ballroom

Loveland, Summer of Soul Film Screening
June 19, 7 p.m. | Rialto Theater, 228 E. Fourth St.

City and County of Broomfield’s Proclaiming Colorado’s Black History Through Song
June 21, 7 p.m. | Broomfield Library Field
Features a performance by James Beard Award-winner Adrian Miller; participants will learn about the roots of contemporary Black music—from spirituals and jazz to rhythm and blues and hip-hop

Did you know?

Black and African American communities began celebrating Juneteenth as early as 1866, the year after the Union Army arrived in Texas to proclaim freedom for Black and African Americans, approximately two months after the official end of the Civil War and more than two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation. Texas was the last state in the Confederacy—a collection of 11 Southern states that seceded from the United States after Lincoln’s election into the presidency—to keep people enslaved in bondage.

Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021. The holiday is also called Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day and Juneteenth Independence Day. According to historians, raising the Juneteenth flag symbolizes freedom, equality and resilience.

Denver’s Five Points neighborhood began celebrating Juneteenth in 1953, and in 2022 Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Colorado.

Campus resources

Pride Month events

CU Boulder Pride Office Ice Cream Social
June 9, noon–2 p.m. | Center for Inclusion and Social Change lobby, third floor of the C4C

Pride Night at the Rockies
June 9 | Coors Field, Denver

Boulder Pride Festival
June 11, 11:30 a.m.–5 p.m. | Boulder Bandshell, Canyon and Broadway

Lafayette Pride on the Plaza
June 15, noon–4 p.m. | Festival Plaza

Denver PrideFest
June 24–25 | Denver Civic Center Park across from the Colorado Capitol

Longmont Pride
June 30, 4–8 p.m. | Roosevelt Park, 700 Longs Peak Ave.

Did you know?

The origins of Pride Month date back to the landmark Stonewall Inn uprising of 1969 in New York City, which catalyzed the gay rights and broader LGBTQ+ rights movements in the United States. A year after the social justice uprising, the first gay pride marches began in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and gay rights organizations formed around the world. In 1999, the federal government declared June “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month,” and expanded it to Pride Month in 2011.

Campus resources


Juneteenth photo via Office Holidays (CC, Flickr). Pride Month photo via Unsplash.