Press Releases


Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani's Juneteenth employee message

Dear Colleagues,

Juneteenth National Independence Day is celebrated each year on June 19 to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 2021 when President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, becoming the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was adopted in 1983.

Juneteenth commemorates the day on which the official order of emancipation was delivered to enslaved peoples in Texas upon the arrival of Union troops in Galveston during the summer of 1865—two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Celebrations of freedom would soon begin in Texas and throughout the entire Southern United States. Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, liberty, equity, and access, as well as a dedication to the continued pursuit of justice and equality. As former President Barack Obama said: “Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do."

While Juneteenth is a day to celebrate, it is also a day to acknowledge the continued opportunities for progress. As public health professionals, we see examples of how race exacerbates systemic disparity, inequity, and injustice in our work. However, Juneteenth should serve to inspire us all to continue working toward our goal of eliminating health disparities in our underserved communities. As a state and nation, we have made progress toward that goal, but we still have far to go toward making positive impact on the health of communities, improving individual health outcomes, and an improved quality of life for all.

Thank you for all that you do each day to embrace and honor the diverse experiences of our state’s communities. Your efforts are invaluable in advancing the mission of Connecticut Department of Public Health to reduce health disparities across our state and nation.

Commissioner Juthani