June 18, 2021
The Center for Health Equity at the University of Pittsburgh wishes you a Happy Juneteenth 2021—the first as a federally recognized holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the day people enslaved in Texas received the news that slavery was abolished. This was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth celebrates freedom, Black history, and community. More information about the history of Juneteenth can be found at: juneteenth.com and wpajuneteenth.com.
In addition to acknowledging and uplifting Juneteenth, it is critical that we acknowledge systemic racism and oppression affecting Black communities as well as Indigenous, Latinx and other historically oppressed communities, and uplift the efforts to undo these systems of oppression. For example, while Juneteenth has been made a federal holiday, several states have instituted legislation forbidding the discussion of race or racism, critical race theory, or the historical context of slavery and the experiences of Black communities in educational settings.
Simultaneously, Black and Indigenous communities are more likely to experience modern day slavery through the prison industrial complex and mass incarceration. Legislators are introducing measures to assail voting rights across multiple states. Additionally, Black communities experience persistent inequities in health (including COVID-related outcomes), housing, and adverse environmental exposures.
Please join the Center for Health Equity in commemorating and celebrating Juneteenth.
Please also join us in uplifting and supporting scholarship and collaborative work addressing the inequities that continue to persist in Black communities across Southwestern Pennsylvania and the United States.
To learn more, please visit the Center for Health Equity.