Juneteenth, or June 19, marks the date in 1865 when word finally reached communities of enslaved people in Texas that the Civil War had ended and they were freed from slavery—two and a half years following President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
For Black Americans, Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and a day of independence. It’s also an important step in our ongoing journey for racial and social justice in the United States – a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. Importantly, the federal government designated Juneteenth as a national holiday last year, and the Duke Department of Pediatrics in solidarity with Duke Health, has pledged to commemorate this day by committing to truly caring for each other and making our communities stronger, healthier and more just.
As you know, there are numerous Juneteenth events taking place in Durham, across the Triangle, throughout the state and around the country, both in person and virtually. Let’s use this time to reflect on both our history and recent events, and how we can continue to work to eradicate racism in all its forms by working together.
Ann M. Reed, MD
Samuel L. Katz Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics
Chair, Department of Pediatrics
Physician-in-Chief, Duke Children’s