Penn State Health recognized Juneteenth with two events for all health system and Penn State College of Medicine employees, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

June 25, 2024Penn State Health News

On June 13, The Multicultural Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) held a hybrid event at the University Conference Center in Hershey on the history of Juneteenth, its impact on health equity and its relevance across generations.

Presenters included Blanding Watson, president of the Lancaster Branch of the NAACP; Leroy Hopkins, a retired Millersville University professor; and Saniya Louis-Jean, the daughter of Ayana Thomas, Penn State Health regional Information Services director.

On June 15, the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosted a family-friendly Juneteenth event for Penn State Health and College of Medicine employees and their families at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg.

Twelve volunteers from Penn State Health smile and gather behind an activity table during the Juneteenth celebration at the Whitaker Center.

Penn State Health volunteers celebrate Juneteenth at the Whitaker Center.

The event began with an overview of the history and importance of Juneteenth. Floyd Stokes, American Literacy Council founder, and his daughter Madison read “We Dream a World” by Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. The Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion provided a copy of the book to each family that attended.

Other activities included live music by Penn State College of Medicine Department of Humanities artist Chynaah Maryoung-Cooke, Juneteenth T-shirt and cookie decorating, and a writing station. The event also featured a video highlighting the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Slavery and Freedom exhibit. Penn State Health collaborated with the several Black-owned businesses to provide catering, cookies and reading to children.

Many BERG members supported these events through both attendance and volunteerism. To learn more about supporting diversity initiatives at Penn State Health, contact the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

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