Juneteenth: celebrating freedom and black culture in America

Written by Candice Subero on Friday 18th June 2021

At OPEN Health, we see Juneteenth as more than a blend of the words June and nineteenth. Juneteenth is a unifier that honors the end of slavery in the United States of America. In the wake of last year’s racial awakening, Juneteenth takes on even more significance this year. So much so that yesterday President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a national holiday. This is an important milestone in the struggle to overcome division and give everyone full access to justice, freedom, and equality.

By recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday, our country has taken a much-needed step in the right direction. With this holiday, we both acknowledge this country’s history of slavery and celebrate African Americans’ liberation from it. For too long, this part of our history has been downplayed or even ignored, and the passage of this legislation rightfully accepts the pain, stories, and contributions of the African American community as part of our nation’s story. While this is a critical first step, there is so much more that needs to be done, and I hope the recognition of this important day continues the momentum to dismantle systemic and institutionalized racism to ensure equality for all Americans,” said Sarah Simpson, HEOR Research Scientist in OPEN Health Communications.

“Juneteenth is a day of reflection, and at OPEN Health we will be exploring how the day can be recognized in the years ahead. We must ensure that everyone who works at OPEN Health is treated with respect and has the support they need to flourish,” said Kelly Brown, Global Human Resources Lead at OPEN Health Evidence & Access.

In celebration of freedom and Black culture in America, OPEN Health will be donating to the Juneteenth Foundation.

The history:

It goes by many names. Whether you call it Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, or America’s second Independence Day, Juneteenth is one of the most important anniversaries in our nation's history. Here are the basics of Juneteenth that everyone should know.

Why it is important:

In addition to marking a date of major significance in American history, Juneteenth has always been both a day of remembrance and an opportunity for African Americans to honor their history and celebrate Black culture. Making it an American holiday signifies that the country, and the world, recognize that serious injustices continue still in the US and in the world at large.

Educational links:

What is Juneteenth?

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

Juneteenth Foundation