Perhaps more than ever, this is the year for us to reflect on the significance of Juneteenth (short for June Nineteenth), a holiday that acknowledges the day the last enslaved people were formally freed in the United States. Juneteenth is often commemorated by gatherings focused on celebrating the resiliency and strength of African American people. In addition to this, I am using this occasion to be reflective about social change, the many ways systemic racism and injustice continues to impact African American communities, and how people like me need to do more. As Dean for Diversity & Inclusion, I am committed to turning words into action and working with divisional leadership to articulate a vision and plan to address systemic barriers posed by racism.
I invite you to join with me today to commemorate Juneteenth. Here are some suggestions and resources for learning more:
- Learn more about Juneteenth and support efforts to make it a national holiday. This is video resource that may be useful, as well as this article from UChicago News.
- Learn more about how Chicago and other cities were shaped in the aftermath of slavery and the Jim Crow laws that followed. The Warmth of Other Sons: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson is a good place to start.
- Host a discussion on Examining Privilege for your local groups through our Office of Diversity & Inclusion
- A number of UChicago Medicine’s Black healthcare providers have organized an hour-long event to mark Juneteenth, share a moment of silence for those killed by police brutality, and discuss the role systemic racism plays in healthcare — particularly for minority communities on the South Side. The event will be held outside Cummings Life Science Center (just east of 58th Street & Drexel Avenue) at noon.
Iris Romero, MD, Dean for Diversity & Inclusion and Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology