Georges BenjaminThe American Public Health Association joins with millions of Americans in commemorating Juneteenth today, June 19.

This observance — which marks the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Texas were notified of their freedom and celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. — serves as a reminder to advance racial equity in health care, education, employment, housing and justice. Ultimately, Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom that touches us all. 

This occasion is even more significant during this watershed moment in our history, when millions of us are standing up in unison against racism and law enforcement violence against black Americans. We are united by our resolve to change course so tomorrow’s America is one where equality is not simply a catch phrase.  

We must dedicate our efforts and resources to confront and dismantle a system of oppression that, for too long, has stained the country. Racism is an ongoing public health crisis that needs our attention now. 

See APHA's website for more on racism and health, and tune in to our Advancing Racial Equity webinar series for an in-depth look at racism as a driving force of the social determinants of health and equity.