As Black History Month in the U.S. continues throughout February; we’ve had the opportunity to celebrate the essential health and wellness contributions that Black Americans have made (this year’s theme). Progress and change wouldn’t be possible without the pioneers of the past and the innovators of today who are working to define the future.
And that future is dependent on what is implemented now. If we shy away from the disparities and racism that clearly exist within healthcare; we can’t confront it head on. By recognising, challenging and changing the systems and structures that create new and/or perpetuate historical inequity; we can be part of how this country moves forward. Supporting community programs and grassroots organizations that aim to achieve this is one of the most effective ways we can make a difference.
Justice is what love looks like in public. | Cornel West
Tackling the symptoms of racial inequality within the U.S. healthcare system comprises only one part of a multi-layered social justice issue. Making sure Black People and other communities of Colour have fair and equal access to health and wellness services that address these symptoms represents an important first step. However, if what created these disparities in the first place is not confronted by all of us; the cycle of poor health outcomes for Black Americans will continue.
When resources, policies or practices establish a pattern of disadvantage you begin to see that good healthcare isn’t merely about medical and mental health support. Health and wellness that enables everyone to thrive includes things like food security; livable wages; affordable housing; ending period poverty and improved access to public transportation.
The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others. | bell hooks
While it’s meaningful to educate ourselves about the causes of social injustice and foster a more thorough understanding of how we can take action; those of us sharing what we learn during Black History Month must be cognizant about not focusing solely on Black trauma and pain. We have a duty to acknowledge inequities; but a responsibility to celebrate Black resiliency, innovation, beauty and joy.
The following list of groups and organizations are the embodiment of this positive change; they honour their communities by concentrating on healing as a tool for effective social transformations. If you want to support Black health and wellness; amplify their work, volunteer your time, contribute money and resources and/or take meaningful action that supports their goals.
Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM)
Working to overcome barriers that limit access to emotional and mental health support; BEAM describes itself as “a national training, movement building, and grant making institution that is dedicated to the healing, wellness, and liberation of Black and marginalized communities.” The cornerstone of their work is ‘Healing Justice’; identifying ways to intervene holistically when responding to generational trauma and violence.
With spaces both online and in real life (Brooklyn, NY), Ethel’s Club offers resources, therapy sessions and connections to mental health resources for People of Colour. Through highlighting intentional healing and joy that celebrates abundant, diverse and nuanced lives; this social and wellness society aims to “rebuild worlds, restructure our communities, and design for a future filled with creativity and rest.”
The Okra Project
Through this food-based grassroots mutual aid collective, The Okra Project aims to provide Black trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming people with healthful home cooked meals; and other nourishment resources that counter food insecurity. Although currently only available throughout New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia this organization aims to expand and/or facilitate similar programs around the globe; as well as throughout the rest of the U.S. All meals are prepared by Black trans chefs in the recipient’s house or handed out to LGBTQ2S+ homeless.
Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA)
As Black women are over three times more likely to die or suffer complications during pregnancy or postpartum; BMMA aims to expand resources, research and shifts in healthcare culture (including policy change) that significantly improve Black maternal health outcomes.
Using advocacy and organized action that champions policy change that comprehensively addresses racial health disparities; Black Health aims to promote disease prevention and achieve equity within all wellness services and programs throughout the U.S.
The Center for Black Health & Equity
Facilitating the implementation of community-led, comprehensive policies that promote health justice campaigns; The Center for Black Health & Equity pursues programs and services that tackle race-based healthcare disparities for Black Americans.
Part of being a revolutionary is creating a vision that is more humane. That is more fun, too. That is more loving. It’s really working to create something beautiful. | Assata Shakur
This is the final post of TNs Black History Month 2022 series; I hope you learned something inspiring and found out about some incredible Black health and wellness trailblazers and organizations that you can serve and support. No input or action is too small; we can all make a difference.
What Black health and wellness organizations and/or activists do you follow and support? How have you been celebrating Black History this year?
Black Activists, Artists, Historians and Changemakers You Should Follow on Social Media – People
26 thoughts on “Supporting Black Health and Wellness Organizations”
‘It’s really working to create something beautiful’. I love that quote. This is a thought-provoking and well written post.
I love that quote too — thank you for taking the time to read this post.
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That statistic about black women being over three times more likely to die or suffer complications during pregnancy or postpartum is something that resonates. It’s very much the same in the UK too, and it’s shocking that more isn’t known about it. Thank you for raising awareness.
Exactly — this should not be something Black women face and it is not okay that the medical field often ignore or overlook the pain or complaints Black women share, thus impacting the quality of the care they get. So much has to change, thankfully these organizations are here to help. Thanks for reading!
I love that you mentioned this month isn’t just about focusing on and learning about the trauma and the pain of black experience. It’s about discovering the achievements too – so thank you for sharing these wonderful organizations!
Exactly — we can learn the hard stuff while focusing on the future and all the good work being done today. Thank you so much for reading!
A thought provoking post, not least because I came across these issues in the UK more than 25 years ago when doing some research on labour market needs and qualifications in the health sector. I am retired now and have lost track with the latest developments. Yet here in 2022 I see things are still not where they need to be!
Definitely still not where we need to be; there is so much progress to be made and be aware of. I know the UK very much mirrors these issues too so I hope anyone reading is moved to do something to challenge them (wherever they live). Thank you so much for stopping by.
This is such a great post Molly! Health care should be equitable and accessible to all. These sound like wonderful organizations set out to level the playing field. Thanks for sharing.
I agree — thank you so much for reading!
Thanks for your sharing:)
You’re most welcome!
This is such an amazing post. I really like that you are using your platform for bringing light to important topics that are often overlooked!!!
Thank you — I am so happy you stopped by to read it!
I did not know much about this, the statistic is astonishing. More so that no one really knows about it. Thank you for using your platform to share this information.
Lauren – bournemouthgirl
I’m so glad you found this and it proved informative — thank you so much for reading!
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It’s so great to learn about these organizations and what they are doing! It has only been over the last couple years that I’ve really been grasping how deep racism runs within healthcare. Things really do need to change and I’m so glad more and more information is being shared on the topic.
It is an eye-opener when we realize how endemic racism is within healthcare (and all systems and structures). It’s amazing to learn about all the incredible organizations, initiatives and people who are changing this; and how we can be a part of that evolution. Thanks so much for reading!
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Such an important and thought-provoking post. I loved all of the quotes you included and raising awareness of a real prominent issue in society.
J E M M A ♡
Thank you! I hope these organizations get some support as a result of this post.
Well said. We face the same here in India based on caste, creed, family, religion. We should do what we can to eradicate prejudices.
100%! Wherever it exists it should be challenged and eradicated! Thanks for reading.
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Such an important post to share! It is alarming how disadvantaged people of color are in the healthcare system. I am not Black but being a minority, the thought of delivering my child in the hospital terrified because of the statistics. Thank you for bringing awareness to this! You also provided great organizations for those who would like to join the movement. I particularly love BEAM because within the Black culture, it is often thought that vulnerability and emotion displays weakness. Mental health is usually shunned and so many people suffer in silence because of this. Thank you for sharing such a great post!
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and concerns about treatment within healthcare; it’s shameful that these statistics even exist and fully impact people from many different communities of Colour, etc. The work all of these organizations do is incredible, and as you mentioned, BEAM doing tireless work within the mental health field to end stigma. Thanks so much for reading!
The statistic about black women being over three times more likely to die or suffer complications during pregnancy or postpartum is absolutely shocking. What a brilliant post raising awareness and sharing some fantastic organisations.
I’m so glad you found this informative and useful — thank you so much for reading!