Published June 15, 2022
Dear Jacobs School community,
As we approach the celebration of Juneteenth, this year’s holiday comes roughly a month after the horrific, racially motivated shootings in the nearby Jefferson Avenue community.
This attack initiated a much-needed awakening across our community, this country and around the globe in the fight for racial, social and health equity. It has made us look deeper, listen more intentionally and reflect.
Juneteenth is a day celebrated by many Black and African Americans as Independence Day, marking the 1865 day when enslaved Africans were read federal orders freeing them under the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.
But Juneteenth is not only cause for celebration. It is a time to reflect on the systemic inequities that still exist. I also encourage you to stand in solidarity with our Black and African American colleagues to celebrate freedom, condemn oppression, and advance racial and social equity within our university and our communities.
It is important to note that Juneteenth falls within Pride Month. Each is an opportunity for us to learn about a community, people or culture, to have a conversation with someone we might otherwise not speak with about meaningful things.
As a medical university, we have a responsibility to care for one another, to strengthen our communities and to ensure diverse voices are heard. As we embrace the richness, diversity and complexity of our shared history, the healthier we become as individuals and as a nation.
This coming weekend, the Jacobs School is proud to join the community in celebrating Juneteenth at the 47th consecutive Buffalo Juneteenth Festival on Saturday, June 18 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
In partnership with Crisis Services, MedStep and Area Health Education Centers, we are excited to offer festivalgoers access to resources for support during this difficult time and connections to programming for anyone interested in a career in health care.
We hope that having students and health care professionals of color at the table will show the young people in attendance that they too can one day wear the White Coat.
Volunteers are needed at our table for two-hour blocks throughout the day. If you would like to join us, please sign up now.
We will be located at the Best Street and Fillmore Avenue entrance from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Vice President for Health Sciences
and Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
“Race, gender, religion, sexuality, we are all people and that’s it.”
— Connor Franta