Cooley students celebrate Juneteenth through service

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Members of WMU-Cooley Law School’s Black Law Students Association recently participated in activities celebrating Juneteenth, which recognizes the abolition of slavery. Juneteenth celebrates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas. 

On Sept. 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring that effective Jan. 1, 1863, all slaves in the Confederate States of America were to be freed.

However, news of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender on April 9, 1865, did not reach Texas until May 1865.

On June 19 in Galveston, Texas, Union Army General Gordon Granger announced the total emancipation of slaves in that state.

BLSA students were among volunteers who actively participated in Lansing’s annual Juneteenth parade and events at Lansing’s St. Joseph’s Park.

Volunteers helped by spreading the word on social media, by canvassing the neighborhood where the parade route would take place two weeks before the event to inform the public, signed participants in, and marched in the parade.

While volunteering the BLSA members had the opportunity to meet with two notable figures in the Lansing community —  Dr. Olivia Letts and Dr. Herschel J.  Roper. 
Letts was the first African American hired by the Lansing School District and has dedicated her time and efforts to ensure that other teachers of color received the same opportunities that she received.

Roper is a community leader, teacher, coach and youth leader who brought many recreational sports opportunities for children in Lansing.

“It was an honor and privilege for BLSA members to meet two influential and important figures in the Lansing community, and to celebrate African American freedom in the United States,”  said Aisha Henry, WMU-Cooley BLSA president.

Following the parade, BLSA members continued with their celebration by holding a barbecue picnic at Frances Park for WMU-Cooley students, faculty, family and friends.
 

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