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Staff report

In an Instagram post, the student group Strength Over Silence called for Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) to teach about Juneteenth.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, is a June 19 holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It is generally not taught in school history classes, but awareness of it has recently spread through social media.

“There is so much cultural history we are not taught in school, and there must be change,” Strength Over Silence said in a post caption. “We are calling Capistrano Unified School District to action.”

The group also urges people to sign an open letter about their experiences with racism in CUSD through a link in their Instagram bio.

In a response statement, CUSD Chief Communications Officer Ryan Burris said trustees requested a resolution for the June 24 board meeting that would address issues of intolerance, racism, and discrimination during the June 17 meeting. “(The) Resolution on the Fight against Intolerance, Racism, and Discrimination is an important step in our continued work to foster a culture of acceptance and inclusion in CUSD. But, this is not the last step,” Burris said. “We are committed to working with our students, in partnership with our Cultural Proficiency Taskforce, which was established last year, to identify and implement specific actions to support all students and families.”

CUSD plans to hold a board workshop on the topic in the fall to report their progress and next steps.

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  • Slavery legally ended in the US on December 18, 1865, when the 13th Amendment became part of the Constitution. Even after the conclusion of the Civil War and fall of the Confederacy, slaveholders in Kentucky continued to believe that slavery would continue to exist, and continued to hold and trade enslaved people through most of 1865.

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