Juneteenth 2022

Juneteenth: commemorate, educate, participate

A Message from the Strategist

COMMEMORATE this day by acknowledging our history.

EDUCATE ourselves and future generations.

PARTICIPATE by volunteering for social justice organizations and causes.

As we reflect on what Juneteenth means, we must remain cognizant of how this day signifies the missing history of many Black Americans and the impact it still carries today. This Juneteenth, let us pay homage to our ancestors who fought in the pursuit of our present-day freedoms, while recognizing that our fight for true freedom is far from over. As a nation, we stand in acknowledgment of our journey, accepting our past faults and working toward a brighter future.

Kiana Atkins

I invite you to explore our Juneteenth campaign, interact with us on social media and share what this day means to you. While we celebrate and learn more about Juneteenth, share with us your thoughts on Juneteenth and what actions you are taking to advocate for social change.

Kiana Atkins
Principal Strategist
Black Employment Portfolio

Messages from our Leadership

Dr. Tabak

Dear Colleagues,

NIH joins the nation in celebrating Juneteenth! An important date in American history, Juneteenth commemorates the day African Americans in Texas learned that they were free from slavery. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law on January 1, 1863, all enslaved people were not immediately freed until June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, informing the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free.

Last year, President Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that established Juneteenth as a federal holiday, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. This year we will observe the holiday on Monday, June 20, 2022.

At NIH, we continue to seek to end racial and ethnic disparities in health, identify and eliminate structural racism within the NIH-supported and greater biomedical enterprise, and eliminate inequities in employment opportunities. I am proud of the engagement of NIH employees in the endeavor to advance equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. We see this in the volunteer efforts of those who serve on such NIH-wide initiatives as the Special Emphasis Program Engagement Committees, the UNITE initiative, and the Employee Resource Groups, as well as efforts led within individual Institutes and Centers. In this way, we honor the spirit of the African American men who fought in the Civil War and African American women who aided war efforts as nurses, spies, and scouts to secure their freedom.

I invite you to continue educating yourselves on the significance of Juneteenth and what the end of slavery means, not only to African Americans, but to all people. We must commit to advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility for all people to sustain NIH as the premier biomedical research agency. To learn more about the history of Juneteenth and activities to honor the holiday, visit EDI’s Juneteenth landing page. To learn more about the Black Employment Portfolio, contact Kiana Atkins at kiana.atkins@nih.gov.

With sincere appreciation for all the work you do at NIH,
Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Acting Director, NIH

Dr. Little

The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion celebrates Juneteenth! Also referred to as America’s second Independence Day, Juneteenth commemorates the day enslaved African Americans in Texas were informed they were free. Although Juneteenth is a relatively new federal holiday, it has been celebrated in many African American communities for more than 150 years.

Juneteenth honors the end of chattel slavery in America. The journey to freedom spanned more than 200 years. Significant milestones along the way include the Emancipation Proclamation, General Order No. 3, and the 13th Amendment. Juneteenth is a time to remember the past, appreciate the present, and take action to improve the future.

In an effort to continue the fight for a just and equitable America, President Biden has issued Executive Order 14035 and with our help, this can lead to equity for all people. As we celebrate Juneteenth 2022, let’s all do our part to promote equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in our professional and personal lives.

Please follow EDI on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram at @NIH_EDI and use #NIH_Juneteenth to participate in the campaign. To get involved or learn more about the Black Employment Portfolio contact kiana.atkins@nih.gov.

Shelma Middleton Little, Ph.D.
Acting EDI Director

Smiling Black woman wearing sunglasses.

Juneteenth Move for Equity Celebration

June 20, 2022

Hosted by Supporters of 8CRE and NIH

Supporters of 8CRE invite you to “Move For Equity” on Monday, June 20, 2022, the observed Juneteenth federal holiday. They encourage us to move for equity by walking, running, stretching, dancing, doing breathing exercises, or another form of fitness for a distance of 1.9K or a duration of 19 minutes. Additionally, NIH Fitness Center will host a 19-minute exercise in celebration.

The 8 Changes for Racial Equity (8CRE) were proposed in 2020 by members of the NIH community serving in various roles who are motivated to ensure the NIH workplace culture is one free of racism, discrimination, and harassment.

Register for the virtual event here:

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
- Robert F. Kennedy, politician

Smiling Black man and woman

Educate. Acknowledge. Advocate.

Juneteenth is a recently signed law and federal holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States for Black Americans.

As we consider the importance of Juneteenth to the Black Community:

Educate yourself and your community about the importance of this holiday as it is not only Black History, its American History.

Acknowledge the importance of this milestone and collectively, we can continue to the pursuit of liberty for all.

Become an advocate of equity and justice within your home, and across your community.

Exploring Black Mental Health

Juneteenth is an undeterred day within the Black community that memorializes the pursuit to freedom. As we think on what freedom is, let us not forget that freedom does not limit itself solely to the body. True freedom is embodied through the mind, body, and spirit. For Black Americans, slavery’s historical trauma has directly impacted their lives. To this very day, as we speak about the importance of our past, we must also reconcile our future and in doing so, acknowledge the profound effect that violence has had on the Black community's emotional and mental wellbeing.

Historically, Black men and women have been socialized to be silent and were forced to internalize dehumanization and constant acts of extreme violence against our community, which has left lasting psychological effects. Mental Health America reports that 4.8 million (16%) Black people within the United States report having a mental illness1 however, only 1 out of every 3 Black Americans receive the treatment needed due to socialization, negative connotation, shame, and lack of trust of medical professionals. The disparities in healthcare for Blacks are a result of their concerns often being minimalized, misdiagnosed, and often, ignored. Through subjugation of enslavement, oppression, colonialism, racism, and segregation, these traumatic experiences have had lasting psychological impact on the lives of Blacks.2

Explore resources that speak to the importance of Black mental health that is often discussed within the Black community.

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhumane.
- Harriet A. Washington

Juneteenth Points to View

Watch a collection of videos that help us better understand the history of observing Juneteenth, and what Juneteenth observance looks like today.

Racial Justice at NIH

NIH’s racial equituy programs are set up across its network of institutes and centers and externally with partnerships designed to establish an equitable and civil culture within the biomedical research enterprise and reduce barriers to racial equity in the biomedical research workforce.

The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.
- Ijeoma Oluo