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    What does Juneteenth mean to you?

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | June 20th, 2022

    What does Juneteenth mean to you?

    What does Juneteenth mean to you? I have mixed emotions. I understand it as a day of celebration because slavery as it was at that time ended. However, that freedom did not result in equity, especially regarding access to quality health care. Reading the White House briefing titled – A Proclamation on Juneteenth Day of Observance, 2022 was helpful. Below are two paragraphs that resonated with me. 

    …Today, our Nation commemorates Juneteenth:  a chance to celebrate human freedom, reflect on the grievous and ongoing legacy of slavery, and rededicate ourselves to rooting out the systemic racism that continues to plague our society as we strive to deliver the full promise of America to every American.

    …Juneteenth is a day to reflect on both bondage and freedom — a day of both pain and purpose.  It is, in equal measure, a remembrance of both the long, hard night of slavery and subjugation, as well as a celebration of the promise of a brighter morning to come.  On Juneteenth, we remember our extraordinary capacity to heal, to hope, and to emerge from our worst moments as a stronger, freer, and more just Nation.  It is also a day to celebrate the power and resilience of Black Americans, who have endured generations of oppression in the ongoing journey toward equal justice, equal dignity, equal rights, and equal opportunity in America.

    Although my employer does not close the office for Juneteenth, I chose to take the day off to spend time reflecting on the true meaning of Juneteenth and what I can do to ensure equal justice, equal dignity, equal rights, and equal opportunity in America. My hope is as we work towards keeping our sisters alive and healthy, health care disparity will one day be a thing of the past. We all have a role to play.

    2 Responses to “What does Juneteenth mean to you?”

    1. Linda K. Jackson says:

      I also have mixed emotions, citing that equal justice, equal dignity, equal rights, and equal opportunity in America is still a constant fight. Nor has the full, true story of Juneteenth been told, and many other situations/events in American history (where African-Americans are concerned). But, I also am a firm believer that “truth crushed to earth shall rise again.” The truth can be hidden, but not forever.

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