SCA Health is proud to join our teammates and physician partners in celebrating the Juneteenth National Holiday to recognize the historical significance of this critical moment in American history.
What is Juneteenth?
On June 19th, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform formerly enslaved people of their freedom. The news reached the area nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation during the American Civil War. Following the news, the now-freed Black Americans could look forward to a brighter future.
SCA Health is proud to take part in recognizing this vital moment in American history. We join in on celebrations and the ongoing education surrounding Black history and the contributions of all minorities.
“For me personally, I don’t celebrate the day as a day of freedom for Black people,” SCA Health DIBs Project Manager Ricky Phillips said. “I celebrate it as the first day all Americans were considered free. It wasn’t just a great day for formerly enslaved Black Americans; it was a great day for America.”
SCA Health teammate Marylin Hall described how an episode of the TV show “Black-ish” sparked her interest in learning about the holiday. She adds that, looking back on her educational career, she is surprised that the significant moment in American history wasn’t recognized throughout her school years.
“It was a full circle moment,” Hall said. “I realized that there is knowledge out there that wasn’t being shared, despite being so important. I believe that Juneteenth is not only a celebration but a way to spotlight a moment that has otherwise been disregarded or was deemed not as important.”
A Deep History
During their enslavement, Black Americans were prohibited from obtaining everyday items. As a result, upon hearing of their freedom, they purchased items that led to everyday staples of society today. One such example is red velvet cake.
Phillips highlights that the formerly enslaved population purchased food dye as one of their typical items following their freedom. Mixing the dye with food, like cakes and sodas, represents more than a simple cosmetic change. It’s a nod to their rich history.
“(The red foods) are ceremonial within African culture,” he said. “A lot of the population, the red foods they celebrate with, most of them are sweet, but the color also represents the bloodshed and loss experienced.”
Today red foods continue to represent the holiday. They act as a memorial to those who suffered throughout the process of slavery.
SCA Health & Juneteenth
In 2021, the official recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday continued a movement to acknowledge and celebrate Black History. SCA Health encourages our teammates and physician partners to participate in the day’s celebration if they choose to do so.
“SCA Health does a good job of giving teammates the option to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to take some PTO and celebrate this day with my family,’” Phillips said. “We are always trying to find more ways to get others within our organization involved, whether it is educational opportunities, celebrating with your family, or just enjoying some red velvet cake and hibiscus tea. It’s about understanding the reason behind the significance of the day.”
SCA Health aims to promote inclusivity and diversity through its teammate resource groups, including The Black Experience. The Black Experience offers a space to discuss current events, Black history, and educational opportunities.
To learn more about The Black Experience Teammate Resource Group, click here.
To learn about other teammate resource groups offered by SCA Health, click here.