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NCSD marks Juneteenth by reiterating its ongoing commitment to racial justice
June 17, 2022
As the United States pauses on June 19th to commemorate Juneteenth, we at NCSD reiterate our commitment to integrating anti-racism and inclusion into our work to end the epidemic of STDs – an epidemic marked by disparities that are inextricably linked to racism.
Juneteenth is an important day of remembrance in the United States, marking a key moment in our nation’s history, and a day of significance, especially within the Black community. We encourage our members to learn about the significance of Juneteenth and reflect on the meaning it holds to them and to the people they serve.
According to Dr. Tanya Bass, NCSD’s Director of Health Equity:
“Juneteenth — also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, and Juneteenth Independence Day — is a day of remembrance and a part of American history. It signifies the day of annual recognition of emancipation from slavery in the United States. That the news of emancipation reached those in Galveston, Texas almost two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, underscores the continuous need to dismantle structural and systemic racism. As the Director, Health Equity, my commitment is to ensure that marginalized experiences are centered in NCSD’s work and actions. NCSD is committed to equity, inclusion, and justice. As part of that commitment, our acknowledgement of this day is not performative, but is consistent with the vision of the organization. Martin Luther King Jr offers that, ‘Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.’ We at NCSD seek to dismantle oppression in any form.”
The disparities we see in the STD epidemic are a tangible reminder that historical injustices and systems of oppression continue to impact the health and well-being of the African American and Black community. As we serve our members and work with our partners, we will continue to advance health equity by centering anti-racism and anti-oppression in our efforts.
“We know that we cannot achieve a nation without STDs unless we are willing to address the root causes that leave people exposed to preventable infections,” said David C. Harvey, NCSD’s executive director. “As leaders in this field who seek to provide the very best support and advocacy for STD professionals across the country, we would miss the mark by not addressing racism and its impact head on.”
Over the past year, NCSD has increased its commitment to explicitly naming and addressing racism as a part of its longer-standing work to promote health equity. This year, NCSD’s offices will be closed on Juneteenth, a gesture designed to appropriately honor the day and its meaning. In the coming months, members will see more resources to help them integrate anti-racist strategies into their STD prevention efforts. Our commitment is a full one and not a one-day token: if we want to see a nation without STDs, we must all prioritize health equity for Black people and other marginalized people, and directly address injustice in all its forms.