DEI Helps Educate, Celebrate Topic of Juneteenth

By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director

What is Juneteenth?

Even now, when the federal government has designated a national holiday to commemorate the date (this year, we will observe the day on Monday, June 20), there are still many who do not know what the celebration is all about.

The College of Health SciencesOffice of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee wants to help.

“Simply, Juneteenth is a holiday, celebrated on the 19th of June, to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States,” says Uriah Carter, director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the College of Health Sciences. “It was first celebrated in Texas in 1865, where, in the aftermath of the Civil War, slaves were declared free due to the Emancipation Proclamation.”

But it’s so much more than that, she says.

And because so, CHS’ DEI Committee is sponsoring a special program, “A Juneteenth Celebration: From June 19, 1865, to Today.” There will be learning, food and festivities, open to everyone, and held from noon to 2 p.m., Tuesday, June 21, in CTW 415.

Carter will be leading a presentation on the history of the day, while they will also show other videos of activists and speakers. They will also highlight black-owned local businesses.

“This is important for many reasons,” Carter says. “It highlights the Black experience in America. It’s also important to highlight all cultural celebrations. And this helps develop the Black American Family Experience, and — for example — how a celebration is all about cookouts and making great food, playing cards, and commiserating.”

The educational experience also falls in line with the mission of CHS’ Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, she says.

“This highlights a huge subculture of who we serve,” she says. “These are our patients and customers, our students and clients. We make an effort to get to know them and their communities by educating ourselves.”

All are invited — so come out to celebrate, and educate, yourself on this special day.

“We’re trying to start a tradition with this,” Carter says. “We want to build upon it next year, and make this celebration the norm.”

WHAT: “A Juneteenth Celebration: From June 19, 1865, to Today”
WHEN: Noon to 2 p.m., Tuesday, June 21
Refreshments will be provided.