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The Importance of This Year’s Black History Month Theme

todayFebruary 8, 2022 54

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By Lea Mercado
Web Content Assistant Manager

As we enter February of 2022, Black History Month helps us kick off the new year again. Each year, a theme is selected to guide the public’s awareness of issues disproportionately affecting Black individuals.

Past themes have ranged from “Afro-American Scholars: Leaders, Activists and Writers,” in 1993 to “The Crisis in Black Education” in 2012. Each theme provides a snapshot of history, just as Carter G. Woodson, the scholar whose contributions led the establishment of Black History Month, intended. You can view a complete list of past themes here.

The theme of 2022 is “Black Health and Wellness,” which is highly relevant as the third year of the ongoing pandemic looms. But this year’s theme doesn’t only apply to the COVID-19 pandemic; it goes far beyond that.

While Black caregivers have been heavily relied on throughout the pandemic and should especially be acknowledged and celebrated during Black History Month, Black Health and Wellness has had a tumultuous past in American history beyond the scope of the pandemic.

For instance, in 2005, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) published a study conducted to examine the quality of health care provided to racial minorities. The study found that “racial and ethnic minorities receive lower-quality health care than white people—even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable.”

Not to mention, Black women have had to become their own health advocates as many care providers seldom believe Black women – or women in general, leading to the creation of organizations such as the Black Women’s Health Imperative. And that is the absolute tip of the historical iceberg when it comes to how Black people have been treated medically in America.

While progress is indeed being made, America still has a long way to go. But what better time to create change than when the issue is at the forefront of everyone’s minds?

That is exactly what organizations are attempting to do through initiatives such as the “Greater than Covid” organization which provides vaccine locations and accessible educational resources for the public. Or “The Black Coalition Against Covid,” which is the result of a partnership between two initiatives dedicated to providing education and resources regarding COVID to minority communities across the country.

As February comes and goes, it is crucial to understand that educating ourselves on these issues is the absolute bare minimum. There is always more to be done, such as getting involved, donating to organizations, and making sure that our diversity in politics accurately represents the diversity of the people.

To amplify other voices instead of my own, below is a list of local and national organizations that are doing incredible work in the community and can always be a resource or something to support.

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Featured Image By Lea Mercado

Written by: Autumn McGowan

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