On this day of unity, inclusion, and freedom—I am so honored to celebrate our oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the USA. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the slaves were now free! On that day, Union Major-General Gordon Granger read this General Order No. 3 to the people of Galveston:
The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.
As a Texan, I grew up celebrating Juneteenth and I am so dang proud of my home state for being the first to make Juneteenth an official state holiday on January 1, 1980. As a medical student I lived and studied a few blocks away from where this Order was read in Galveston.
I’m also proud of my med school. In 1902, UTMB/Galveston opened the first state-funded hospital for African-Americans in Texas. In 1949, my school graduated the first African-American in Texas, Dr. Herman A. Bernett. My medical school has been celebrated as the most diverse medical school in the country.
I’ve lived more than half a century as a healer on this planet and so on this day of freedom I want to share my reflections on race, unity, and love (originally posted on Facebook on June 4th amid the protests against police brutality).
I’ve loved and dated men & women of many colors, races, religions. I live with a black man now. We’ve been together 7 years. I raised a teen foster son—a black man. For a year, I had a homeless black man living with me. Here I am in 1985 with my high school boyfriend, Demetric…