Kevin Johnson, Penn Integrates Knowledge and David L. Cohen University Professor with joint appointments in the Department of Computer and Information Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics in the Perelman School of Medicine, gave a Juneteenth address to the Penn Engineering community on Wednesday, June 14.
Johnson focused on the relationships between his personal experience, national service, and passion for teaching, framing his address as an exercise of growth and insight.
“As we recognize Juneteenth,” he stated, “a holiday that brings awareness to what journalist Corey Mitchell calls ‘…a complex understanding of the nation’s past,’ we also need to understand how many of our neighbors, staff, and faculty — even those born in the last 100 years — continue to navigate through the environment that made Juneteenth remarkable.”
Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering, said that he was “especially moved by Johnson’s framing of the significance of Juneteenth as an opportunity for our community to both acknowledge and reflect on the past and to assume our ‘shared responsibility to stand together in solidarity against systemic racism, discrimination and injustice’ as we work together toward a more equitable and inclusive future in the School and beyond.”
Johnson’s address: “A White Neighbor, a Black Surgeon, and a Mormon Computer Scientist Walk into a Bar…” can be viewed below: