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Kean University

Kean Recognizes Juneteenth with Public Celebration, Announces New National Partnership

Kean Hall is located on the Kean campus

Kean University’s new Center for Africana Studies will host its first Juneteenth Jamboree on Wednesday, June 19 to celebrate the day slavery ended in the United States.

The event, which is open to the public, comes as the University announces that Phi Beta Sigma, one of the oldest historically Black fraternities in the country, is joining the KEANetwork employee benefit program.

“As an anchor institution and the first urban research university in New Jersey, Kean is committed to celebrating diversity and supporting diverse communities,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., who is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma. “Juneteenth is an important cultural touchstone in the Black community – and access to academic excellence, through the KEANetwork, is an important pathway to future success. We are honored to be part of both of these initiatives.”

The KEANetwork provides participating businesses and organizations benefits for their employees who attend Kean University, including tuition discounts and additional support. Phi Beta Sigma is an international organization based in Washington, D.C.

“Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. is excited about this partnership with Kean University. One of the fraternity’s core principles is scholarship. As an organization that’s 110+ years old, we will continue to cultivate educational pathways and learning experiences for our members,” said Phi Beta Sigma International Executive Director Phillip Cockrell, Ph.D. “We are elated to have Bro. Dr. Repollet at the helm of Kean University.”

Juneteenth marks the anniversary of the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, in Texas in 1865. It was declared a public holiday in New Jersey in 2020 and a national holiday in 2021.

The Juneteenth Jamboree will start with a Freedom Walk at 10 a.m. at Harwood Arena on June 19, followed by remarks from Repollet, and other university, government and faith leaders.

The Jamboree, featuring food trucks and vendors, community activities, a DJ and more, will run from noon to 2 p.m.

“Kean’s Juneteenth Jamboree is dedicated to honoring the spirit and history of Juneteenth, and we have planned a day filled with joy, reflection and community,” said David Jefferson Jr., Ed.D., acting director for Kean’s Center for Africana Studies. “The energy and unity that this event fosters are truly inspiring. I'm particularly excited about the opportunity to engage with the community, hear from our esteemed speakers, and enjoy the performances and demonstrations that showcase our rich heritage."

Kean created the Center for Africana Studies earlier this year, at the start of Black History Month. Housed within Kean’s College of Education, the Center is designed to become a leading resource for scholarly research, community engagement and educational programming.

The Juneteenth Jamboree is also sponsored by the Kean University College of Education, Generation 2 Generation and the Division of Entrepreneurial Education Initiatives.