Juneteenth, a significant holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, provides an opportunity for allies in veterinary medicine to actively support, honor, and educate about the historical significance of this day. As allies, it is crucial to engage in tangible actions that promote equality, inclusivity, and cultural understanding. In this blog post, we will explore practical examples of how you can celebrate Juneteenth as an ally in veterinary medicine, while fostering a genuine and informed approach.
To be an effective ally, start by educating yourself about Juneteenth and its historical context. Dive into literature, documentaries, and online resources to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of African Americans during slavery and their subsequent emancipation. Explore reputable sources such as AVMA’s Reputable Racial Equity Book List, documentaries like “13th” by Ava DuVernay, or complete self-guided modules through the Journey for Teams program. This knowledge will form the foundation of your celebration and enable you to share accurate information with others.
Share Knowledge with Colleagues and Clients
Use your platform as a veterinary professional to educate your colleagues and clients about Juneteenth. Share informative social media posts, blog articles, or newsletters that highlight the historical significance of the holiday. Include facts about Juneteenth, its connection to African American history, and its relevance to veterinary medicine. Encourage discussions and answer questions to foster a better understanding among your veterinary community.
Display Educational Materials
In your veterinary practice, create displays that feature educational materials about Juneteenth. Create a bulletin board or place informative posters, infographics, or flyers in common areas. These materials can highlight the history of Juneteenth, significant figures in African American veterinary medicine, or the contributions of African Americans to the profession. This visual representation sparks curiosity, encourages learning, and promotes meaningful conversations among staff and clients.
Support African American Veterinary Professionals
Celebrate and uplift the achievements of African American veterinary professionals within your profession. Recognize their contributions by featuring their work in your social media posts, blog articles, or newsletters. By amplifying their voices, you inspire others and promote diversity within the veterinary community.
Engage in Cultural Celebrations
Participate in cultural celebrations that honor Juneteenth. Attend local Juneteenth events, parades, or festivals in your community. Show your support by volunteering or sponsoring activities related to pets and animal care. Collaborate with African American organizations or leaders to create educational programs, workshops, or panels that focus on the intersection of African American culture and veterinary medicine. Engaging in these celebrations demonstrates your allyship and fosters meaningful connections.
Here is a list of Juneteenth Events occurring in the veterinary space and beyond that you can support and attend:
- Juneteenth Summit: Renaissance – Black DVM Network
- Journey You Own BIPOC Monthly Meditation Gathering
Donate and Support Relevant Causes
Donate to organizations that promote equality, social justice, and diversity within the veterinary field. Look for initiatives or scholarships specifically aimed at supporting African American students pursuing veterinary careers. Consider contributing to organizations that address health disparities in underprivileged communities or provide veterinary care to those in need. By supporting these causes, you actively contribute to dismantling systemic barriers and fostering equity in the profession.
Here is a list of organizations in the veterinary community you can support and amplify:
Continual Self-Reflection and Growth
Engage in continual self-reflection and growth as an ally. Attend workshops, seminars, or conferences that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Be open to feedback and listen to the experiences of marginalized communities, including African Americans in the veterinary field. Seek out mentorship or coaching opportunities to enhance your allyship skills. Commit to ongoing learning, acknowledging that allyship is a journey that requires continuous improvement.
As an ally in veterinary medicine, celebrating Juneteenth is a meaningful way to honor and support African American history and contributions. By educating yourself, sharing knowledge, displaying educational materials, supporting African American veterinary professionals, engaging in cultural celebrations, donating to relevant causes, and fostering continual self-reflection, you can make a genuine and informed impact. Let us strive to create a profession that values diversity, advocates for equality, and works towards a more inclusive future.