Reflecting on Promise, Progress and Potential this Juneteenth
Jun 13, 2024
Sutter Health
Black, red and green vector file commemorating Juneteenth Freedom Day June 19

By Lara Azar, Vitals contributor

For Dana Beckton, Sutter Health’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer, Juneteenth is a reminder that though freedom may be delayed, it can never be denied.

Juneteenth, commemorated each year on June 19, recognizes the day in 1865 when Black Americans in Texas finally received word that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved people were free—more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

“It signifies that we’re right to stay true to the work of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Sutter Health and in our own lives and communities,” Beckton said. “The establishment of my role as our organization’s first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer is one of those advancements that I feel very acutely.”

Black woman with short black hair, glasses, black/onyx jewelry and dark teal blouse

Dana Beckton

Beckton joined Sutter Health almost exactly five months ago in a role that was created to help guide and advance work toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization for employees and physicians.

Sutter serves more than 3.4 million patients in one of the most diverse regions in the country, and research shows that patients have better experiences and health outcomes when that diversity is reflected among their care teams.

Beckton was born and raised in Philadelphia, where her first full-time role was as a city bus driver. For years, driving buses at night gave her the time to pursue a college degree during the day. Along the way, her love of people and desire for purpose led her down the path of human resources. Today, she leads diversity, equity and inclusion work for a healthcare system spanning one of the most diverse regions of the country.

“This Juneteenth, I can’t help but acknowledge how far we’ve come since that day 159 years ago in demonstrating the collective will and action to stay the course,” she said. “At Sutter, we’ve taken significant steps forward, from how we recruit and support our workforce to how we are fostering a more inclusive culture and showing up in our communities. This progress is a testament to our promise to furthering diversity, equity and inclusion, and a commitment we’ll continue to bring to life as a team.”

To help commemorate Juneteenth in the communities it serves, Sutter Health is sponsoring the following events. For additional events across the region, be sure to check local community calendars.


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