EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) -It’s the third year with NMSU commemorating the profound moment in American history: Juneteenth

Juneteenth is not just a key moment in black history, it is a big moment in American history.

A NMSU faculty member has come to bring everyone in the community to recognize why we stand together. 

Patrick Turner is the Associate Provost for Student Success at New Mexico State University, and his focus is that every student succeeds at NMSU and makes sure students are engaged not only in academics but also with their culture. 

Since June 19 is a federal holiday, Juneteenth marks the year when soldiers arrived and announced the end of slavery in the United States.

“It really celebrates that time when freedom for enslaved individuals became official, they have been fighting since 1619. That’s when it officially became written into the law in 1863 but didn’t reach the actual final small group in Galveston Texas until 1865,” Turner said. 

With only a week and a half planned, 200 people showed up the first year and as of last year 400 people attended. 

Turner tells KTSM it all started with a few vigils but community members began to suggest bringing the vigils on Juneteenth. He and his colleague Kimberly York, Program Director of Black Programs started the candle light vigils for George Floyd and Brianna Taylor and that is when NMSU jumped on board. 

“Two things were important to us when we created this event for Juneteenth, first of all to have students involved and to be student led but then also to make sure that we pull in community members. Because like I said New Mexico is a part of the community and the community is a part of New Mexico State. So we want to make sure that Juneteenth was not only reflected on the campus but also the people in the community.”

As this is the third year, people will expect to see campus and community partners such as Western Sky Community Care, Black Programs, and since it is Pride Month the LGBTQ+ will be there as well.  

Turner says local live music from Santa Fe will be there, outdoor games for friends and family. Plus people will come together at the end of the night with a candlelight vigil, for the black lives lost to racial injustice. 

According to Turner not only does this impact students at NMSU but each individual in the community celebrates their backgrounds. 

In the past two years the events have been a success and Turner is looking forward to students, families and everyone in the borderland community to come together to advocate social justice on Friday, June 17.

The outdoor event will take place outside of the Corbett Center Student Union from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tp learn more about Juneteenth click here.

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