Story last updated at 2/13/2013 - 2:48 pm
JUNEAU - All SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) clinics will be closed on Friday, Feb. 15, to honor the achievements of Alaska Native civil rights leader Elizabeth Wanamaker Peratrovich.
Elizabeth Peratrovich Day is a special day for SEARHC's Alaska Native patients and staff, and it is important that we honor her achievements. Our outpatient clinics will be closed on Friday, Feb. 15, for Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, but we will have on-call staff available to provide emergency care at those clinics that offer emergency services. We also will have regular staff working at S'áxt' Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital to take care of our patients who are hospitalized.
It was Peratrovich's impassioned testimony before the Alaska Territorial Legislature in 1945 that led to the passage of an Anti-Discrimination Bill eliminating the blatant discrimination policies faced by Alaska Natives. Until the bill passed, many Alaska businesses wouldn't serve Natives and treated Natives as second-class citizens.
In 1988, the Alaska Legislature established Feb. 16 as Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, using the anniversary date of the bill's signing in 1945. It is a day set aside so Alaskans can pause to remember the former Grand Camp President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood and honor her efforts to preserve equality and justice for all Alaskans regardless of race, creed and ethnic background.