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AAMC Statement on what Juneteenth Means Today

June 19, 2020

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MEDIA CONTACTS
Stuart Heiser, Sr. Media Relations Specialist

David Acosta, MD, chief diversity and inclusion officer of the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), and David J. Skorton, MD, AAMC president and CEO, released the following statement:

“June 19 is an important date in American history on which we recall the true end of slavery in this country. Today, Juneteenth also reminds us of the long way we still have to go to achieve the fundamental promise of ‘liberty and justice for all’ that our nation was founded upon.

In June 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation had been in effect for more than two years, officially outlawing slavery. However, thousands of people in Texas still remained enslaved despite the law granting their freedom. It wasn’t until Major General Gordon Granger led a group of Union soldiers into Galveston on June 19, 1865, to announce the law that slave owners finally released their slaves, more than two years later. This led to the Juneteenth commemoration we honor today.

Yet 155 years later, our nation is far from achieving equality for all its people and bridging the deep racial divides embedded in our country’s societal infrastructure. Systemic change goes deeper than institutions writing rules and regulations; it requires personal accountability, uncomfortable conversations, education, courage, and vulnerability. We must unlearn what society has accepted as the norm for far too long and seize on this moment to explore the ways historical injustices contribute to today’s inequalities, developing new ways, with renewed commitment, to eliminate them.

As Frederick Douglass observed, ‘The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.’”

To read the AAMC’s statement on police brutality and racism in America, click here.

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members comprise all 155 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their 173,000 faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org.

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The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through medical education, patient care, medical research, and community collaborations. Its members are all 155 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; more than 400 teaching hospitals and health systems, including Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 70 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC leads and serves America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 179,000 full-time faculty members, 92,000 medical students, 140,000 resident physicians, and 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.