Kaiser Permanente proudly partnered with several community organizations to commemorate Juneteenth, a new federal holiday that has long been celebrated to recognize June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved Black people learned they had been freed two years prior under the Emancipation Proclamation.
Since the 1860s, communities across the country have honored the historical legacy of Juneteenth with public readings, performances, and cultural events. This year, for the weekend and day of Juneteenth, Kaiser Permanente sponsored and hosted health and wellness activities during family-friendly events in Maryland. Read more about each event below.
AFRAM 2023 in Baltimore
Kaiser Permanente was proud to support the AFRAM event, one of the largest African American festivals drawing more than 100,000 people annually to entertainment, local food, and vendors in Baltimore City’s Druid Hill Park. On Father’s Day, June 18, Dr. Kwame Akoto, an internal medicine doctor at Kaiser Permanente, moderated the “Men’s Health Shop Talk” at the event, alongside advocates for the Black Mental Health Alliance. Kaiser Permanente employees and partners also volunteered their time to assist youth with outdoor activities such as spin art bikes, and adults with blood pressure screenings and Medicaid redetermination.
Reginald F. Lewis Maryland Museum of African American History and Culture in Baltimore
On June 19, Kaiser Permanente partnered with the museum to host the “Juneteenth Celebration: Envision A New Future” at no-cost to visitors. The celebration featured live musical performances by local artists, Juneteenth-inspired refreshments, and people’s lived experiences in a time capsule. On behalf of Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Michael Willis, Vice President and Business Information Officer, delivered remarks about the health and wellness partnership with the museum. Kaiser Permanente employees were also onsite to provide health educational materials and wellness giveaways.
2023 Annapolis Juneteenth Parade & Festival
In Annapolis, Kaiser Permanente supported this festival, which featured a special outdoor exhibit entitled “Freedom Way,” to promote African American history, diversity, and community – as well as performances from national and local recording artists. Shannon Hines, Director of Health & Wellness Programs at Kaiser Permanente, provided opening remarks, while other employees shared documents on diabetes, healthy recipes, men’s health, and cancer awareness from the vendor booth. They also welcomed participants to the spin art bikes, wellness wheel, and giveaways. Gabrielle Furr, Program Manager of Community Relations at Kaiser Permanente, also hosted a live Q&A session on health and wellness, mental health, and cancer with Dr. Eddye Bullock, an internal medicine doctor at Kaiser Permanente. The event closed out with a special firework display.
Strathmore & Step Afrika! Present STEP XPLOSION in Bethesda
Honoring its rich roots in the African American fraternity and sorority experience, this show emphasizes the presence of step-dancing in the daily and future lives of students. Step-dancing, commonly known as stepping, involves complex choreography to produce rhythmic sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps.
“Juneteenth is a commemoration of one of the most pivotal and remarkable moments of progress our country has ever seen,” said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, Regional President of Kaiser Permanente. “However, we should also pay attention to the limitations of the progress we make and remain vigilant to ensure that progress on paper is reflected as progress in people’s lives.”
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.7 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.