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Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion makes Juneteenth statement

June 19th, 2020

Ad Building view from south plaza

Julián Gonzalez-Salamanca, director of the ODEI, has released a public statement marking the June 19 holiday.

Bethel President Jon C. Gering, Ph.D., earlier this week announced that Gonzalez-Salamanca, who had been serving in a two-year interim position with the new Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), has been given a permanent appointment, and that the office’s new name now includes the word “Equity” (ODEI).

Gonzalez-Salamanca sent out the following statement:

Dear Bethel College community,

Please join me in remembering this day in 1865, when soldiers from the Union army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to share the good news of the end of the Civil War and of slavery. Every year on June 19, many in the black community celebrate this day, now known as “Juneteenth.”

As we continue to see the injustice that black and brown women and men experience in this country, it’s our responsibility as an institution of higher education to acknowledge Juneteenth and to challenge ourselves to keep moving forward. That means learning the history that has negatively impacted the African-American community.

At Bethel College, we reaffirm our commitment to our mission, vision and values, and to the search for tools that will help us be an institution that promotes equity and inclusion at all levels.

Juneteenth is a time to reflect on the past and resolve to act for a better future. Happy Juneteenth to all who celebrate. And we’ll keep doing this hard work to make Bethel College welcoming, inclusive and equitable for everyone.


Julián Gonzalez-Salamanca, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel is the highest ranked Kansas private college, at #12, in Washington Monthly, Top 200 Bachelor’s Colleges; ranks at #23 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest; is’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; stands at #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities listed by lendEDU as “Best for Financial Aid”; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to; and earned its second-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star gold award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2019-20. For more information, see 




About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.