Reflecting on Juneteenth in 2020

Today is Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. On this day in 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas. They brought news that the war had ended and the enslaved were now free.

American and Juneteenth flags | Wikimedia Commons

Today, the fight for Black equality continues. Systemic racism continues to affect healthcare, nutritional access, education, and socioeconomic status in Black communities, all of which increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

This Juneteenth occurs amid the historic Black Lives Matter movement. It reminds us that oppression did not end in the 1860s, the 1960s, or even this decade. By removing barriers to health access, earning trust in disadvantaged communities, and supporting academic success of Black students and researchers, UCI MIND can fight against both racism and Alzheimer’s disease. And we will.

As a research and educational institute, UCI MIND is committed to being anti-racist in our outreach, recruitment, data collection, and analysis. We are developing action items and initiatives to better support the needs and amplify the voices of Black scientists, students, participants, and families. UCI MIND thanks all who participated in last week’s virtual Town Hall. We will soon hold a similar event to listen, learn, and put in the work required to effect change. We hope you will join us.

#ActForInclusion

UCI MIND Outreach & Education Team

 

For reflection on the occasion, UCI has created a collection of campus messages and resources on racism and UCI’s role in confronting anti-Blackness. In addition, a special UCI Podcast with Jessica Millward, associate professor of African American studies, is online to discuss the importance of Juneteenth.