Juneteenth flag raised at Harborview Medical Center

UW Medicine raised the Juneteenth flag on Friday at Harborview Medical Center, to observe important American history finally coming to the forefront.

“I see it as a healing process for this great nation, and an acknowledgement in telling the truth and going forward with the right information, for the next generation to progress without hate,” said Abraham Makonnen, who works in hospitality services at Harborview.

Juneteenth recognizes an event dating back more than 150 years. On June 19, 1865, Union troops reached Galveston, Texas, and freed 250,000 enslaved Black people, who were learning of their freedom for the first time. The date has commemorated the end of slavery in the United States for generations and is celebrated as an Independence Day by many in the Black community.

President Joe Biden designated Juneteenth as a federal holiday beginning this year, and the day will be recognized as a state holiday in Washington starting next year.

“It means the world to our patients, our staff and our community,” said Sommer Kleweno-Walley, interim CEO of Harborview Medical Center. “The symbol of what Harborview is to the community, and the diverse workforce and patient population we serve.”

UW Medicine