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Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion celebrates second annual Juneteenth event

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 5:36 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - This weekend, Americans will celebrate the nation’s youngest federal holiday. Juneteenth, a day marking the end of slavery in the United States, became a federal holiday last year.

Virginia Tech students, faculty and community members at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute listened to Black scientists and engineers share their success stories. Success stories in an industry where less than 10% of jobs are held by Black people.

One of the celebration’s organizers explained how it was impactful to hear successful stories by Black leaders in the field of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“It’s phenomenal to hear from these speakers their journey, to know that they could still do the work they were supposed to do,” Monet Roberts said. “There are people who look like me, people who look like those who are underserved and that legacy to really know that we have been contributing to society, and we matter.”

The Fralin Biomedical Research Institutes’ Executive Director explained how recognition of Black achievements is one way we can celebrate Juneteenth.

“Looking back on our history of the many contributions of Black Americans to society, and in our case, in particular, science and engineering, areas of our focus,” Michael Friedlander said.

Faculty members at Virginia Tech hope Juneteenth celebrations like the one Friday continue to promote inclusivity and innovation among students.

“My hope is that a new generation of talent will get inspired by this, and that all of us will be able to learn some important lessons and take those in how we’re going to govern science and technology in the future,” Sylvester Johnson said.

Sunday, June 19th, marks the second annual Juneteenth celebration in the United States as a federal holiday.

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