The entire UNC School of Medicine community is encouraged to take time to learn about and reflect on the significance of Juneteenth, and to consider ways that we can work to make our country a more just and equitable place. Read more information in this letter from Dr. Nathan Thomas, Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Juneteenth, which takes place annually on June 19, celebrates the date in 1865 that the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas, officially freeing all enslaved people in the United States. As we commemorate the holiday this year, the entire UNC School of Medicine community is encouraged to take time to learn about and reflect on the significance of Juneteenth, and to consider ways that we can work to make our country a more just and equitable place, especially this year as we see the impacts of systemic racism and oppression reflected in the deaths George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and in the COVID-19 pandemic which has disproportionately affected communities of color.
In our own community, we are working to embrace a more inclusive historical narrative. Just this week, the University Board of Trustees voted to lift the moratorium on renaming campus buildings and is continuing the work of cataloging campus sites named for slaveholders and white supremacists, as well as other changes meant to create more welcoming campus for all.
So, tomorrow, as Juneteenth is celebrated, please take a moment to consider the significance of the day, all that it represents, and the work we can each do to make our UNC School of Medicine community, and our nation, a more just and equitable place.
We recommend the resources below as a great starting place:
12 Things You Might Not Know About Juneteenth
Juneteenth celebrates freedom from slavery in US
Ex Slaves Talk About Slavery in the United States
Dr. Nate Thomas and the UNC School of Medicine’s Office of Inclusive Excellence