Press Release: Regional Health Systems Geminus Lake Park Commemorate Juneteenth
June 19, 2020
Regional Health Systems, Geminus Corporation and Lake Park Residential Center Commemorate Juneteenth
MERRILLVILLE, IN – Regional Health Systems, the Geminus Corporation (Geminus Corp.) and Lake Park Residential Center (Lake Park) announce the commemoration of Juneteenth as an official corporate holiday. Juneteenth (also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day or Freedom Day) observes the end of slavery in the United States, which occurred June 19, 1865—two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
"This year’s Juneteenth comes at an incredibly significant moment in our history," said William Trowbridge, J.D., CEO of Regional Health Systems and its partner corporations, Geminus Corp. and Lake Park. "Following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other black Americans, we are witnessing one of the largest social justice movements since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Civil rights organizations are garnering widespread support from multigenerational, multiethnic, multigender, and multiracial groups—all working together to eradicate systemic racism and social injustices."
The legacies of the partner organizations within the Northwest Indiana-based network of health care and social services are built on the principles of hope, recovery and the resolve to build resilient individuals and communities. Barriers to individual and community resiliency include the social determinants of health, especially racism—a driving force of the social determinants of health according to the American Public Health Association. Racism is also a barrier to health equity, a major component of long-term individual resiliency.
"The structural inequities and systemic racism that continuously traumatize the physical, mental and social well-being of Black individuals and communities cannot be overstated," said Dr. Kobie Douglas, the chief medical officer for the network and a psychiatrist. “I commend the agency’s support of Black families, communities and staff. As an African American man and a descendant of slaves, I appreciate the recognition of the day. This is a starting point for conversations to recognize the presence of the scars from the past as they relate to today. My great-great-grandfather fought in the Civil War. He had to fight for that freedom—it wasn’t bestowed upon him. Similarly, the struggle for equality continues today and we have a long way to go. Actions speak louder than words, and we have a lot of work to do.”
While all locations will remain open this year, staff have the option to take the day off with full pay or use it as a floating holiday. Next year, and following years, locations will be closed in observance.
In the coming weeks and months, the network will assess processes and systems to find and eliminate any inherent built-in bias that causes an improper disparate impact. This includes a review of hiring/recruitment practices, disciplinary actions, promotions and more. The network will also create and implement new unconscious bias training.
About Regional Health Systems
Regional Health Systems is Northwest Indiana’s largest provider of community-based mental health care and primary health care services for low-income, underinsured, and uninsured families. By integrating services offered at Regional Mental Health Center and Regional Health Clinic, Regional Health Systems treats the whole person and builds resilient communities. For more information, visit rhsystems.org.
About Geminus Corporation
Geminus Corporation partners with community-based health care providers, social service organizations and early childhood education programs to help increase Hoosiers' access to high-quality care. As Northern Indiana’s largest nonprofit administrative service organization, Geminus also provides support services for health care nonprofits and human service organizations. For more information, visit geminus.org
About Lake Park Residential Center
Lake Park Residential Center provides high-quality, long-term mental health care for low-income adults in need of structured and sustained support from highly-trained and compassionate mental health professionals.