Juneteenth: A Day of Observance

June 18, 2020

Dear UMB Community,

Originally commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865 — more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation — Juneteenth is now the preeminent national celebration of freedom of slavery in the United States. However, while Juneteenth did mark emancipation from chattel slavery, it did not remove its enduring legacy.

We see the lingering effects of a country that hasn’t reconciled with its past when we see inequality, oppression, and injustice in our present. Juneteenth is not just a day of celebration for Black Americans, it is a day for all Americans to celebrate freedom and work toward our nation’s ideals of equality and opportunity for all. On Juneteenth, we celebrate the victories won against injustice and come together to fight against systemic racism. Juneteenth gives us an opportunity to reflect, learn more about our American history, and celebrate Black resilience and culture. 

In recognition of Juneteenth, I am granting administrative leave beginning Friday at noon. If you plan to take administrative leave in observance of Juneteenth, it may be taken only on Friday, June 19. Understanding that some may want to take the whole day off, you may, of course, use personal time or annual leave. Please communicate with your supervisor about your plans.

If you would like to learn more about Juneteenth, you can participate in a webinar sponsored by ISLSI Juneteenth, Past, Present and Future at either 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. on Friday. You can also learn more about Juneteenth from the resources below:

As a country, we still have a long way to go in achieving equity. We have many more steps to take towards justice for all, but on Juneteenth, we celebrate an important step taken toward the pursuit of freedom. I am hopeful that together we will continue to create change.



Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS

Interim President

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