On Friday, June 19, UnitedHealth Group honors Juneteenth — the United States holiday also known as “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day” that recognizes a pivotal moment in the emancipation of enslaved people in Texas.
“For generations, Juneteenth has been a day of celebration, reflection and prayer for African American families all across the country,” said Karen Sachs, chief inclusion and diversity officer, UnitedHealth Group. “In this moment, Juneteenth presents us all with an opportunity to face and understand both our unique and collective history so we are able to appreciate the context of what is happening in our society today. While slavery officially ended more than 150 years ago, there is much work to do; we must acknowledge the realities of the African American experience in order to heal and address the inequities that still exist.”
“While slavery officially ended more than 150 years ago, there is much work to do; we must acknowledge the realities of the African American experience in order to heal and address the inequities that still exist.”
KAREN SACHS CHIEF INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY OFFICER, UNITEDHEALTH GROUP
Friday, June 19, 1865 marks the date Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, read orders in Galveston, Texas that all enslaved people in Texas were free:
"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor." – General Order Number 3
It’s important to note that President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed enslaved people about two and a half years earlier. Also, the American Civil War had ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April of 1865. However, since Texas was a remote state, with few Union troops, it was slow to comply with and enforce the freeing of enslaved people. Learn more about the history of Freedom Day at Juneteenth.com/history.htm.
UnitedHealth Group is committed to cultivating a culturally competent health workforce that is diverse as the people we serve — one person at a time — in support of helping people live healthier lives and helping make the health system work better for everyone.