Juneteenth and World Sickle Cell Day: Celebrating and Addressing Well Known Disparities in One Community on the Same Day

With both the celebration of Juneteenth, as well as Sickle Cell Awareness Day, June 19 is an important date. We hope you’ll educate yourself about these topics. Remember to discuss their significance with family, friends, and colleagues.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. The event dates back to 1865. On June 19, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas. They spread the news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.

The reactions to this news ranged from utter shock to immediate joy. Many stayed to learn of this new employer to employee relationship. Others left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former “masters.” This showed the varying conditions on the plantations and reactions to freedom. Even with no where to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom.

Aside from Juneteenth, June 19 is also World Sickle Cell Awareness Day. The date commemorates the day when Sickle Cell Disease was recognized as a United Nations public health concern. The disease affects millions of adults and children every year. June 19 is now used as a way to build awareness around what those with the disease and their families go through. It’s important to learn about the disease — signs and symptoms, as well as treatment options.

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