AACAP Celebrates and Reflects on Juneteenth - Presidential Statement

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2022 -- The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) recognizes Juneteenth, a newly made federal holiday, to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved Black people in the United States. President Biden said, “This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take.”

Slavery of Black Americans was legal in the United States for 250 reprehensible years. Through the observance of Juneteenth, we honor the millions of enslaved Black people who lived and died during this period in our Nation’s history, and the continued strength and resilience of Black American communities. Juneteenth is a time to celebrate freedom finally reaching the enslaved in Texas in 1865, over 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was ratified.

Commemorating Juneteenth helps us to better understand the origins of systemic and structural racism and its cruel and long-standing influence that continues to still impact our society. Through our CAPture Belonging Initiative we remain steadfast in our efforts to dismantle racism and oppression through transforming ourselves and how we serve as child and adolescent psychiatrists. Creating and inspiring a diverse physician workforce to serve our diverse youth and communities centers is a priority. Through our actions we will lift up the voices of our youth and families and advance our field to serve them through advocacy, treatment, research, and partnership.

Juneteenth stands as a stark reminder that the pursuit of freedom, justice, and equity never end. In building a more diverse and inclusive culture of belonging, it will take all of us. It is our hope that Juneteenth will be time for all to reflect on the importance of fighting all injustices, including racial injustice, to reinforce the key values of our shared humanity. Celebrating diversity is seeing ourselves in each other, and championing equality and health equity for all.

We hope you will join AACAP in commemorating this important day in our history. May Juneteenth inspire you to seek justice, promote freedom, and take action.

“Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” Rev. Desmond Tutu


Warren Ng, MD
President, AACAP