Celebrating Juneteenth — A Day of Freedom and Liberation

June 13, 2023 by

Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at UVA

Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virgina

In the coming week, we celebrate Juneteenth, a significant milestone in American history and a day that offered hope for a better tomorrow when the Union army announced the freedom of more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state of Texas, marking a crucial step toward the end of slavery in the United States.

Through the lens of this year’s Juneteenth’s theme, Celebrating Our Freedom Through Restorative Justice and Holistic Healing Practices, UVA Health acknowledges the historical significance of Juneteenth, and is committed to supporting the holistic healing and hope of the African American community as we celebrate this day of freedom and liberation.

As we educate and encourage awareness about the importance of Juneteenth, our Office of Diversity and Community Engagement; School of Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and UVA Cancer Center Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are hosting events throughout the month of June for team members and the community. We encourage your participation to learn about the significance of Juneteenth and its place in history, and how it may serve as a beacon to guide us toward equitable healing and health for all.

Please join us for these Juneteenth events:

Signature Event: Special Film Screening and Dialogue
Sweet Home Alabama: A Chief and His Protégé
Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2023, 5:30-7:30 pm — Registration required.
Location: Learning Studio, Room Number 1110, Claude Moore Medical Education Building and Virtual

UVA Health welcomes Sweet Home Alabama: A Chief and His Protégé filmmaker, Frederick Murphy and Clotilda descendant, Joycelyn Davis, who is featured in the film and details her battle with cancer and how her enslaved ancestors’ legacy of defying the odds validated her ability to overcome obstacles in the way. Tracy M. Downs, MD, Chief Diversity and Community Engagement Officer, will share opening remarks prior to the screening.

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC) Juneteenth Parade
Date: Saturday, June 17, 2023, 9 am-3 pm

Join team members of the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement in marching in the parade. The parade begins at 9 am from the Jackson P. Burley Middle School parking lot and concludes at the JSAAHC front lawn. Black business vendors, food, an ancestral tribute, and music will happen on the main stage through 3 pm. All are welcome to attend.

In 2022, we added Equity to the UVA Health values to show our commitment to an environment of belonging that promotes justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and unity throughout the organization and within the communities we serve. Together, we continue our commitment to transforming health and inspiring hope for all Virginians and beyond.


Tracy M. Downs, MD
Chief Diversity and Community Engagement Officer, UVA Health

Craig Kent, MD
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Health

Marianne Baernholdt, PhD
Dean, UVA School of Nursing

Wendy Horton, PharmD
Chief Executive Officer, University  Medical Center

Melina R. Kibbe, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine

James M. Larner, MD
President, UVA Physicians Group

Scott Just, MD
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Physicians Group

Erik Shannon
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Community Health


Filed Under: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Featured