Amida Care Now

Standing for Justice and Equity on Juneteenth: Be Part of the Change

 “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Juneteenth (June 19), is the oldest nationally observed commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S. Though it is not yet an official federal holiday, Juneteenth is recognized in many states. Last October, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation designating Juneteenth as an official public holiday in New York, and Mayor Bill de Blasio declared Juneteenth an official New York City holiday beginning in 2021.

This month also marks the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history. On May 31 and June 1, 1921, a White mob attacked residents, homes and businesses in the predominantly Black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which included a thriving business district referred to as the “Black Wall Street.”  Hundreds of people were killed, and thousands were left homeless.

This Juneteenth, we mourn the terrible losses of the residents of Greenwood, and of other communities of color across the U.S. that have suffered similar tragedies. As we look back at history, we also celebrate the achievements of historical figures from the Civil Rights Movement who have inspired us and moved the needle of transformation forward. Additionally, we acknowledge figures in our everyday lives–neighbors, community and religious leaders, teachers, health care workers, and others who contribute to the strength, courage, and resilience of Black communities.

“The dawn is ours” in “a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.”– National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

Juneteenth is also an opportunity to acknowledge current challenges.  Systemic racism creates social, economic, and educational inequalities, and these lead to health disparities and shortened life expectancy for people of color. It’s our responsibility – all of us – to find a way to be part of the change. We must all stand in solidarity and fight back against systemic racism and violence.

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