Pitt Student-Athlete Danté Watson to Participate on Juneteenth Panel

PITTSBURGH – Danté Watson, a 2020 University of Pittsburgh graduate and four-year member of the Panthers’ track and field team, will participate in a Friday panel discussion, “Juneteenth: A Prelude to True Equity and Social Justice at Pitt,” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Equipoise—the Black Pitt faculty and staff community— is welcoming all to join a panel of Black Pitt alumni, faculty, staff, and students for a virtual discussion of the history and significance of Juneteenth, the Black Pitt experience, and the actions needed to further achieve equity, justice, and liberation in our communities.

“It is important for everybody within the university and those outside of it to understand the importance of Juneteenth, especially in the current climate that we are facing right now as black men and women in America,” said Watson. “We all have a duty to not only educate but strategize, organize and mobilize with one another in order to facilitate change.”


Juneteenth: A Prelude to True Equity and Social Justice at Pitt Panel

  • Chenits Pettigrew – Assistant Dean for Student Affairs | Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs and Director of Diversity Programs, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
  • Curtiss E. Porter – Chancellor Emeritus, Penn State Greater Allegheny
  • Danté Watson – Senior, University of Pittsburgh
  • Destiny Mann – Junior, University of Pittsburgh
  • Oronde Sharif – Lecturer | Curriculum Coordinator, Department of Africana Studies, University of Pittsburgh
  • Shenay Jeffrey – Assistant Director, PittServes, University of Pittsburgh
  • Sherdina Harper – Cross Cultural Programming Coordinator and Advisor, Student Affairs, University of Pittsburgh
  • T. Elon Dancy – Director, Center for Urban Education | Helen Faison Chair in Urban Education, University of Pittsburgh

Webinar registration for the panel discussion is available HERE. Space is limited but the panel discussion will also be available to watch HERE.

Questions or additional information regarding the panel discussion can be directed to Equipoise@pitt.edu.



Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Today, Juneteenth is enjoying a phenomenal growth rate within communities and organizations throughout the country. Institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Henry Ford Museum and others have begun sponsoring Juneteenth-centered activities. In recent years, a number of local and national Juneteenth organizations have arisen to take their place alongside older organizations – all with the mission to promote and cultivate knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture.

Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.


( This story and photo provided by Pitt Athletics and pittsburghpanthers.com )



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