Recognizing Juneteenth – A Letter from Dana-Farber’s Ian Matthew-Clayton, VP and Chief ID&E Officer 

Headshot of Dana-Farber’s Ian Matthew-Clayton, VP and Chief ID&E Officer

Recently, Dana-Farber’s Ian Matthew-Clayton, vice president and chief Inclusion, Diversity & Equity officer, sent a poignant letter to employees recognizing Juneteenth. His message details the origin of the now-observed federal holiday and how we can expand our knowledge by learning and listening. 

Dear Colleagues, 
On Monday, June 19, Dana-Farber will be closed in observance of Juneteenth. This day of recognition is significant because it marks and celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. 

Although the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in 1863, enslaved people in Texas were denied this freedom until June 19, 1865. The 250,000 Black people freed on this monumental day declared this date Juneteenth. 

Officially recognized as a state holiday in Massachusetts in 2020 — when former Gov. Charlie Baker signed it into law — Juneteenth was also designated as a federal holiday in 2021 by President Biden.   

There are a variety of learning opportunities for our internal employees to recognize Juneteenth. Outside of Dana-Farber, we encourage your patronage of Black-owned businesses. Explore the business directory compiled by Black Owned Bos. Additionally, please consider attending local educational and celebratory events, including: 

  • The Embrace Ideas Festival, June 14 – 16 
  • Juneteenth Joy: Focus on Freedom Celebration, June 17 
  • 13th Annual Boston Juneteenth Emancipation Observance, June 19 
  • Museum of Fine Art’s Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina, June 19

We hope you will embrace educating yourself about Juneteenth and recommit to our values of equity and inclusion. 

Ian Matthew-Clayton 
Vice President and Chief Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (ID&E) Officer