SOPHE is committed to health equity for all.

Celebrating the end of slavery in the United States in 1865, Juneteenth, is tapered with thoughts that 155 years later, we still have a way to go for freedom, independence, and equity. We have yet to overcome barriers in education, housing, employment, health, etc., for all people.

With the designation of June 19 as a federal legal holiday in 2021, it’s still too new to know whether we say, “Happy Juneteenth” or even know how to celebrate the day. However, we know that naming an ice cream flavor Juneteenth like a major retailer did is not the way to celebrate.

There’s also some confusion about the words, equity and equality. Is there a difference? Yes, these two words don’t share the same meaning.

Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.

Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

This diagram provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health shows the difference.

Provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health

The CDC says that health equity is achieved when every person can “attain his or her full health potential” and no one is “disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.”

And according to the World Health Organization, “health is a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Health is a fundamental human right and an essential component of economic development, vital to a nation’s economic growth and internal stability.”

In recognition of Juneteenth:

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Brigitte W. Johnson, APR, MSM, SOPHE’s Director of Communications & Publications