Greetings MCU Family,

First, let me say Happy Pride & Happy Black Music month! As we approach the upcoming holiday weekend, some of you may be wondering what exactly Juneteenth is and why we are celebrating this important holiday. Well let me give you a little backstory. In the midst of the American Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, signed Proclamation 95 (also known as the Emancipation Proclamation) stating that “all persons held as slaves…are, henceforward shall be free”, bringing an official end to slavery in the United States. However, enslaved Africans in Texas did not receive the news of their freedom until two years later when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865.

For the last 150+ years, Black Americans have observed and honored the legacy of Juneteenth (also referred to as “Emancipation Day”, “Black Independence Day”), without federal recognition as an official holiday. After being omitted from history books and widely unknown to the masses of Americans, on June 17, 2021, Congress and President Joe Biden officially made “Juneteenth” (June 19th) a federal holiday, finally observing and acknowledging what so many in this country fought, bleed, and died for, freedom.

I hope this brings a little more understanding to the holiday and why we celebrate! Please have a happy and safe holiday weekend as you honor the legacy of those fought and won freedom!

Dr. Jermain Cooper (He/Him/His)

Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Opportunity | Midwives College of Utah
801-649-5230 |
1174 East Graystone Way, STE 2, SLC, UT 84106
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