MCHD to observe Juneteenth events and Men’s Health Month

Mobile County

Unedited press release from MCHD

MOBILE, Alabama — Celebrated annually on June 19, “Juneteenth” commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. The date represents the arrival of Union soldiers in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 with news of the end of the Civil War and freedom for all who had been in bondage.

In observance of this event and for June being Men’s Health Month, the Mobile County Health Department and Family Health – its primary care division – will participate in two events on Saturday.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Family Health will be at 117 Philips Avenue for the Celebrating Freedom event to offer COVID-19 testing at no cost. Individuals do not need to be displaying symptoms to be tested. Disrupshun Service Organization and Closing the Revolving Door will also host a food give-away and voter registration drive.

From 3 to 7 p.m., A Still We Rise Juneteenth Celebration featuring the Port City Secondliners will take place at 311 South Wilson Avenue. MCHD’s Community Prevention Program will have a booth set up to discuss its mission (Tobacco Use Cessation, Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Fatherhood Initiative, Lead Prevention, and Health Education). Organizers said other attractions will include a children’s corner, vendors, food, and entertainment.

According to the website www.juneteenth.com, Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation – which had been issued on January 1, 1863 – was read to newly freed African Americans in Texas by U.S. Army General Gordon Granger. Texas was the last Confederate State to have the proclamation announced, after the end of the American Civil War in April of that year. Texas was the most remote of the slave states, and minimal fighting meant there were few Union troops present to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

Alabama became the 40th state to recognize Juneteenth through the passage of “Recognizing the Celebration of Juneteenth Day” (Act No. 2011-398, SJR-157) legislation sponsored by state Sen. Hank Sanders in 2011. In January of this year, state Rep. Thomas Jackson pre-filed a bill to designate the third Saturday in June as Juneteenth National Freedom Day. Jackson says this designated state holiday would also allow public schools to offer instruction and programs regarding Juneteenth.

The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to raise the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.

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