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Menah’s Meditations: Reflection and Celebration in June

June 1, 2024

Menah's Meditation Quote that reads THis month and onward, I encourage you to consider the many identities that make you who you are.
Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity, Dr. Menah Pratt-Clarke


Where did May go? Between our amazing cultural achievement ceremonies, commencement, sharing my latest book Blackwildgirl, and traveling for the American Council on Education fellowship, this month has flown by. Many congratulations to the Class of 2024 graduates, those celebrating our graduates, and those who made it through another semester on their journey to academic excellence.

I must take a moment to shout out our Cultural and Community Centers (CCCs) for their incredible work in creating impactful memories for our graduating students. The APIDA + Center, Ati: Wa:Oki Indigenous Community Center, Black Cultural Center, El Centro Hispanic and Latinx Cultural Center, and Pride Center ensured that more than 400 students felt seen and appreciated for who they are.

June is a time to reflect on all the incredible work from the academic year as well as our ongoing work this summer. The Student Opportunities & Achievement Resources Program (SOAR) is preparing for our annual Black College Institute, which will bring 500 rising junior and senior high school students to Virginia Tech to learn more about the African American experience and culture. We are in our seventh year, and I know that the SOAR team will do a fantastic job creating an impressive experience for our visitors (and hopefully future Hokies!).

We are also accepting applications for the Future Faculty Diversity Program, which provides scholars with a unique opportunity to engage with Virginia Tech faculty, participate in professional development sessions, and learn more about the job interview and tenure processes. This program has led to the hiring of dozens of scholars who might not otherwise have joined our ranks – I am excited to meet our 2024 cohort this fall.

June has come to represent many things to many people. LGBTQ+ Pride Month is likely the most recognizable observance. At a time when the community—especially trans people—are under unprecedented legal threat, it’s more important than ever that we come together to uplift the past, present, and future of LGBTQ+ Americans.

June also brings Juneteenth, a federal holiday commemorating the day the slavery ended in the United States. On June 19, 1865, thousands of Union soldiers landed in Galveston Bay, Texas to share the news of freedom with more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the westernmost state of the Confederacy. It is essential that we maintain our annual, shared recognition of this moment in our history as challenges to history books continue throughout the country. My mom and her family in Texas remember celebrating this holiday as their “July 4.”

We will be hosting our third annual Juneteenth Observance at Solitude/Fraction on June 15, 2024, at 10 a.m. I hope you will come out and join us. Kerry Moseley-Hobbs, one of the descendants of the Fraction Family that was enslaved at Solitude, will be present for the occasion.

Father’s Day, World Refugee Day, Cancer Survivors Day, Infertility Awareness Month, Caribbean-American Heritage Month, Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month—June honors all these and more. And one of the great attributes about being a Hokie is that you never have to choose which of your identities matters most at Virginia Tech.

This month and onward, I encourage you to consider the many identities that make you who you are. Write them down if that helps! And follow us on social media for opportunities to join your fellow Hokies in celebrating the superpowers  we all carry within ourselves.

Until next time,

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