Join the School of Medicine in Celebrating Juneteenth

June 15, 2022 by

Memorial to Enslaved LaborersOn Monday, June 20, the UVA School of Medicine will close to observe Juneteenth. This is the second year that the University has officially recognized the holiday. And this year, in a proud first for UVA Health, our UVA Medical Center and University Physicians Group clinics will close as well.

Memorial to Enslaved Laborers inscription detail

Memorial to Enslaved Laborers inscription detail

Celebrated by Black Americans for 157 years, Juneteenth (short for June 19th) is not the day that enslaved people were freed in the U.S., nor is it the day that slavery ended following the Civil War. Instead, it’s the day in 1865 when enslaved Texans found out they had been free for more than two years following the Emancipation Proclamation.

Through the years, Juneteenth has become not only a time to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States but also to highlight the resilience, solidarity, and culture of the Black community. Juneteenth was recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021 and it’s a holiday we’re proud to  celebrate annually at the School of Medicine.

A reflection of our commitment to upholding the dignity of all people and celebrating our diversity, we invite you to join us by participating in some of the Juneteenth events, speaker series, tours, and virtual offerings this month. Highlights include:

  • Friday, June 17 to Sunday, June 19 | Jefferson School African American Heritage Center | Juneteenth Celebration | Events include honoring of local ancestors, a Juneteenth parade, an emancipation concert, performances and food. Learn more.
  • Sunday, June 19 | 11 am-5 pm | 138 W. Church Street, Orange | Juneteenth 2022: A Homecoming Celebration & Dedication of a Commemorative Park |Sponsored by the Orange County African American Historical Society and LOVEOrange Virginia/Orange Downtown Alliance. Learn more.
  • Wednesdays Through July 6 | 6pm | Juneteenth Homecoming Celebration Virtual Lecture Series | Zoom | Learn more and register.
  • Tuesdays Through August | noon-1 pm | An Emotional Lunch Break | Zoom | Ubuntu Healing Circles hosted by the Community Healing Network. Learn more and register.

For even more events around the Commonwealth, go to

Thank you for joining us to recognize this very important holiday.

Tracy Downs, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UVA School of Medicine

Melina Kibbe, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine

Filed Under: Dean's Message, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Featured