Juneteenth: A Day of Reflection, a Movement for Action

Written by: The Black/African American Employee Affinity Group at Pacific Clinics

The words of Frederick Douglass immortalize the meaning of Juneteenth, when in 1852 he wrote, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.”

In June of 2021, Congress passed legislation to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday in the United States, which was a long overdue and overlooked recognition of American history.

This Sunday, our nation will observe Juneteenth, remembering that 157 years ago, an estimated 250,000 captive African Americans in Galveston, Texas were freed from their violent bondage of slavery. Also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, Juneteenth is significant to all Americans. While Independence Day is celebrated on July 4, we must remember that the freedom of enslaved African Americans was not realized until 1865 – 90 years later.

Reckoning with our country’s legacy of institutionalized racism and slavery begins with presenting more accurate, representative and robust accounts of United States history. It also means reflecting during these moments and moving for action. Juneteenth reminds us that while progress has been made, there is much more work to do.

Pacific Clinics’ Bay Area Juneteenth Celebration

Pacific Clinics’ Black/African American Employee Affinity Group and the Bay Area Racial Equity and Justice (REJ) Group hosted a Juneteenth celebration on Monday, June 20 at Nirvana Soul coffee shop, a Black women-owned business, in San Jose. Employees and group members gathered to build community, reflect on what Juneteenth means to them and enjoy some beverages and baked goods.