Juneteenth: Celebrating a Pivotal Moment in American History

June 18, 2024 by

UVA Health Juneteenth Celebration 2024

June 19th commemorates a pivotal moment in American history when the Union army announced the liberation of over 250,000 enslaved Black individuals in Texas on this date in 1865, representing a crucial step toward the end of slavery in the United States. Throughout June, we have come together under the theme, “Jubilee, Justice and Joy!” to commemorate this historic moment of triumph.

Last week, the inaugural UVA Health Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration was enjoyed by our team and the local community (see photos below). It was an honor to have Mayor Juandiego Wade of Charlottesville join us for this joyous occasion. We extend our thanks to the Office of Diversity & Community Engagement, the School of Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, the Cancer Center Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the UVA Black Faculty Staff Employee Resource Group for organizing such a meaningful event. The Office of Diversity & Community Engagement also hosted informational tables this week, offering our team members insights into Juneteenth, its significance, and its impact on our UVA Health community.

As we educate, celebrate, and raise awareness about Juneteenth, we are steadfast in our commitment to our vision: “To be one of the nation’s leading public academic health systems and a best place to work — while transforming patient care, research, education, and engagement with the diverse communities we serve.” In celebrating Juneteenth, we reaffirm our goal of cultivating healthy communities and belonging for all, promoting justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and unity throughout our organization and our communities.


K. Craig Kent, MD
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Health

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

Marianne Baernholdt, RN, PhD
Dean, UVA School of Nursing

Wendy Horton, PharmD
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Health University Medical Center

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

J. Scott Just, MD
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Physicians Group

Erik Shannon
Chief Executive Officer, UVA Community Health

Filed Under: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Featured