Honoring Black History Month 2022
This year, Black History Month focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. The 2022 theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine. It also highlights the importance of other types of healers and wellness practitioners such as doulas, midwives, naturopaths, and herbalists.
At Children’s Home and Aid, we understand that health and wellness go far beyond the professional sense of the word. It encompasses every aspect of a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health as well as the many external factors that contribute to their sense of wellbeing and ability to thrive in the short- and long-term. These past two years have had an incredible impact on the health and wellness of our family partners, especially in Black and Brown communities. That’s why this year’s theme of Black health and wellness is particularly poignant.
As we reflect on Black health and wellness throughout February, we cannot ignore the widespread disparity of access to quality healthcare for Black Americans. The pandemic once again illuminated this glaring truth in our nation, shedding light on a problem with roots that run deep. First slavery and later segregation and other unjust practices led to a lack of economic opportunity for Black Americans, often putting medical care out of reach. It wasn’t until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 that hospitals were desegregated. Still today, medical facilities in many Black and Brown communities are often understaffed, underfunded, or severely lacking.
Of course, this isn’t news to the frontline staff at our agency. Every day, they witness firsthand the ineffective, racist, and unfair systems that make it nearly impossible for families to gain steady footing and success. The foundation is fundamentally flawed. We know this. Our families know this. Communities know this. It’s time to break down the racist barriers that diminish the chance for everyone in our nation to experience a healthy, whole life. Our Blueprint for Impact is guiding us in this transformational journey.
Throughout February we will examine the past, present and future of the Black experience in America as it relates to the topic of health and wellness. Check back often to read about some of the individuals who have helped to advance this conversation–from public figures who are increasing awareness about Black mental health issues to everyday dads and father figures who are strengthening their families and healing their communities.
We hope that you’ll find the many resources, readings, and videos on this page to be helpful as you do your own reflecting during this month of acknowledgement and celebration. We’ll also uplift the stories of entertainers Juice WRLD and Kangol Kid, as well as accomplished athlete and devoted dad Kobe Bryant, to see how their voices have empowered America’s communities of color and inspired those of the next generation. It’s going to be an incredible month.
Thank you for being committed to disrupting old institutions and outdated, harmful thinking with us. It’s not easy work. Sometimes it requires leaning in and having uncomfortable conversations. At Children’s Home and Aid, we’re doing just that. And together, we can leverage our growing knowledge and depth of understanding to tackle the many obstacles we still face on the way to creating a brighter, more equitable future for Americans of all races, abilities, communities, and identities.
Gregory Cox reflects on Black History Month
Michelle Ellis reflects on Black History Month
Resources related to Black health and wellness:
12 Black American Pioneers that Changed the Course of Global Health
Podcasts, readings, and videos on Black Mental Health from Mental Health America
NAMI talks about the importance of Black Mental Health
Overview of the history of Black health and wellness in the U.S. from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History
Additional resources to further your learning and engagement:
Daughters of Martin Luther King Jr. And Malcom X in conversation
Short three-minute video about the history of Black History Month
NPR article that shares the story behind Black History Month
Teaching the Complete History (article examining the liberation, civic engagement, creativity, and intersecting identities of Black people)
The Black Family: United by History, Restored by Storytelling (free, self-guided certificate program that centers the legacy of Black family reunions while encouraging families of all backgrounds to build and renew their own traditions and stories.
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