The Meaning of Freedom

In the U.S., six AdventHealth team members share what Juneteenth means to them.

AdventHealth News
The Meaning of Freedom
Top row, from left to right: Alinka Johnson, Selwyn Carrington, and Donna Warner. Bottom row: Michael Grey, Jessie Brown, Perry Golden. [Photo: AdventHealth]

Since the late 1800s, African Americans across the United States have recognized Juneteenth as an annual commemoration of the end of slavery following the American Civil War. This observance is recognized as a federal holiday in the U.S. and falls on June 19 every year. Six AdventHealth team members shared what Juneteenth’s freedom means to them.

  • Alinka Johnson, strategic advisor for people and culture at AdventHealth: “Freedom is about advocating for others and helping them find their voice. Juneteenth serves as a moment of contemplation, honoring the remarkable fortitude of those who paved the way for us. In homage to their bravery, I actively employ my voice to advocate for and empower others. As Nina Simone, a renowned artist, once said, ‘Freedom means living without fear.’”
  • Selwyn Carrington, senior manager of finance in AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division: “The hope that our future is brighter than the past — that’s freedom. Many of our forefathers, including those in American history, advocated for these principles — human dignity, equality, and justice. These are principles I continue to advocate for in this present day, and with focus and determination, we can collectively share in this effort.”
  • Donna Warner, director of executive recruiting in AdventHealth’s Great Lakes Region: “Access to opportunities is a representation of freedom. It’s important that we leverage the power of networking to access opportunities and make our voices heard within and outside our organization. I think diversity in thought and other areas is beneficial to not only our organization, but to our society at large.”
  • Michael Grey, supply chain strategic sourcing manager at AdventHealth: “When civil rights are protected, I define that as freedom. Community enables us to build valuable relationships. It also allows us to seek out different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences, and I always endeavor to align my actions with this in mind.”
  • Jessie Brown, director of supply chain strategic projects in AdventHealth’s West Florida Division: “When there’s choice, there’s freedom. It’s imperative that we proactively seek out opportunities to deepen our sense of belonging and advance our personal and professional growth. We don’t have a choice when it comes to race, but we can choose to create stories for our future and influence positive action.”
  • Perry Golden, talent acquisition specialist at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission: “I view freedom as keeping an open mind. While my close friends identified with different races, I felt a sense of belonging growing up. I love traveling as it allows me to meet a lot of different people and keep an open mind. Instead of seeing our differences as barriers, let’s choose to see them as bridges for development.”

The original version of this story was posted on the AdventHealth news site.

AdventHealth News