29 Jan Celebrating Black History Month
Black History Month is an annual observance that occurs every February to acknowledge and highlight the successes and innovation of Black Individuals, both from past and present. Now more than ever in the current socio-political climate, we recognize that achievements by Black individuals and communities have often been overlooked due to occurring systematic oppression.
In 2022, the theme for Black History Month is Black Health and Wellness. From The Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s recent statement, this theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways in which the Black community have contributed to healthcare (e.g., birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have practiced in an effort to maintain health and wellbeing. Black clinics were established by individuals, grassroots organizations and mutual aid societies, such as the African Union Society, National Association of Colored Women and Black Panther Party, to provide spaces for Black people to counter the economic and health disparities and discrimination found in mainstream institutions. Initiatives to help decrease disparities have created several outcomes, including more diverse practitioners and representation in all segments of the medical and health programs.
Despite all this, Black communities continue to disproportionally experience some of the highest rates of disease due to lack of resources, racial bias in the medical field, intentional marketing towards Black communities, and little access towards adequate health coverage that is trauma informed and treats Black individuals in the same way they treat non-minority counterparts. The presence of community organizers who are advocating for equity and non-violence towards the Black community has significantly impacted the trajectory of awareness regarding discrimination and generational trauma; however, there is still a lot of work to be done. This Black History Month, and all other months, use your voice to advocate for Black Communities to ensure representation in all areas of life. Interact and share Black creators’ content, read a book or watch a documentary on the racial injustice towards the Black community, attend a protest, speak up when microaggressions are occurring, participate in community organizing, evaluate Diversity and Inclusion policies in your workplace, support Black Businesses, donate to bail funds, have those uncomfortable but necessary conversations, engage in implicit bias testing and education! Let’s use our voices to advocate and acknowledge the accomplishments and successes, and the progress that still needs to be made in creating a more equitable future!