UAlbany held a “Sleepout for Social Justice” on the university campus through Saturday morning at 6 a.m. The sleepout was meant to support sickle cell research at the school’s Melodies Center, as well as a swimming scholarship fund.
The student and community organizations behind the sleepout said that the holiday is a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to address racial inequality.
“Now, we know, certainly, that freedom isn’t free. And everyone isn’t free in the same way, and so our struggle isn’t over. We need to continue to push for any groups that are marginalized to obtain a semblance of freedom,” said D. Ekow King, the Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
As part of the commemoration, organizers read the names of enslaved Africans who survived the journey to the Americas followed by a moment of silence at midnight. Their midnight meditation concluded ancestral readings begin on Dutch Quad Commons and in the Great Hall.
The sleepout was part of the first-ever Capital Region Juneteenth Conference put together by the school, whose theme was “Building Capacity for African Freedom in the Americas and Beyond.”