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BIO Welcomes Bipartisan Measure Making Juneteenth a National Holiday

June 16, 2021
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Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), released the following statement after Congress passed legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday:

“I applaud lawmakers on Capitol Hill for taking the important step to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday.

“African Americans have long celebrated Juneteenth, the day that marks the final liberation of the enslaved people in Texas after the end of the Civil War, as America’s true Independence Day. It is heartening to see Republicans and Democrats coming together to recognize this day, which signifies widespread agreement on its importance and relevance today.

“However, ongoing systemic and racial inequities remain and the work must continue. COVID has made that abundantly clear. 150 years later we are still fighting to counteract the systemic inequality, injustice, and unfair treatment of underserved communities in virtually every aspect of society.

“At BIO, which represents hundreds of large and small biotech companies, we’ve seen these inequities up close in our efforts to bring COVID-19 vaccines and therapies to the public, combat climate change, and find innovative solutions to other modern health and environmental challenges. We have also pledged to champion policies to ensure that ALL patients have access to medicine.”

“BIO employees have the choice to observe Juneteenth on either Friday, the 18th, or Monday, the 21st, in recognition and reflection. I hope we, as a nation, use this day to reflect in earnest on the many ways each of us can strive to make America more just and equitable every day.”

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