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Rogers celebrates Juneteenth and Pride Month

07/13/21 09:20:am

Team members throughout the System gathered for Rogers’ Juneteenth celebration, a virtual program held on June 17 that was hosted by the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion department and the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Employee Resource Group (ERG).

The program opened with an African drumming performance followed by a welcoming and libation ceremony by Karen Nelson, director of Equity, Diversion, and Inclusion.

The Land Acknowledgement was given by Derrick Jordan, vice president of operations, Brown Deer, and executive sponsor for the LGBTQIA+ ERG. It recognized that the land Rogers’ Atlanta location resides upon in Sandy Springs, Georgia, was home to the Native American people known as the Cherokee East and Muscogee Nations. He also said Georgia is known as the Trail of Tears, which was part of a series of forced displacements of approximately 60,000 Native Americans between 1830 and 1850 by the U.S. government.

In addition, the presentation included a performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing by DeLora Putnam-Bryant, experiential therapist and BIPOC ERG leader; a dance routine by the Nefertari African Dance Company; and the reading of an original poem by Janice Marion, unit secretary, Lincoln Center.

Brad Riemann, PhD, chief clinical officer and interim chief operating officer of the System, reflected on Rogers’ journey over the past year. In this time, Rogers has:

  • Created the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Department
  • Added equity as a Rogers Operating System value stream
  • Established three employee resource groups
  • Started hosting monthly system-wide culture events
  • Adjusted electronic medical records to better document patient identities
  • Implemented trainings to increase awareness and skills for a more inclusive, equitable work and treatment environment

The keynote speaker for the event was Clayborn Benson III, founding executive director of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum in Milwaukee. In his speech, he discussed attending Milwaukee’s first celebration of Juneteenth Day 50 years ago, the legacy of Juneteenth Day, the people who were not helped by the Emancipation Proclamation, and the importance of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

A recording of the presentation can be viewed here or by clicking on the video above. In addition to the event, employees system-wide were invited to wear red, black, and green on June 18 in celebration of Juneteenth becoming a National Holiday for the first time in U.S. history.

Pride Month celebration

Rogers also marked Pride Month by hosting a virtual celebration on June 29, which was the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This event was also hosted by the Equity, Diversion, and Inclusion department and the LGBTQIA+ ERG.

After a welcome by Nelson, the Land Acknowledgement was given by Brian Kay, PhD, vice president, Continuous Improvement, and executive sponsor for the LGBTQIA+ ERG. It recognized that the land Rogers’ Nashville location resides on was home to the Native American people known as the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Dr. Kay also spoke of Two Spirit people and how multiple genders and identities were recognized among Native American tribes.

Dr. Riemann and Jerry Halverson, MD, chief medical officer, spoke on the importance of using the correct pronouns and names for our patients and fellow team members. Both doctors addressed ways in which Rogers has not always accomplished this in the past.

The Pride Month celebration’s keynote speaker, Caitlin Pinciotti, PhD, associate research psychologist, presented on a variety of topics, including microaggressions, the creation of gender- and sexuality-affirming spaces, and pronouns. LGBTQIA+ ERG leaders Ellie Fisher and Bree Horrocks, both behavioral specialists, also spoke on the past and current climate for LGBTQIA+ Americans.

The video closed with video messages from Rogers’ team members, allies, and ERG members wishing a happy Pride Month.

A recording of the presentation can be found here or by clicking on the video below. In addition to the event, employees system-wide were invited to wear Pride colors on June 11 to celebrate.

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