Black History Month: Black Health and Wellness

Black History Month: Black Health and Wellness

This Black History Month the K-12 STEM Center asks: How can we incorporate this year's BHM theme of "Black Health and Wellness" into our daily experiences in predominately white academia?

"We can use recent history as example of times when it's not okay to be okay. It can be empowering to state whatyou need from our non-Black colleagues during meetings and interactions on days like those." –– Darin Gray, K-12 STEM Center Co-Director

"Many of us are still indirectly or directly impacted by the effects of violent institutions on our ancestors, whether we realize it or not, combining generational and present-day trauma. Sometimes rest and wellness can start with something as simple as a deep breath; breaking the cycle and choosing yourself.

I think one of the main things we can do as Black people to honor this year's BHM theme is to rest. We are all very aware of how much progress we have made as a nation, but at the very same time so much more work is left to be done. If we think about Black Health and Wellness, I know our minds immediately go to medicine and holistic practices, but I don't know how many folks will think about resting as a way to to honor this year's theme. We are in year 3 of this global pandemic, and although infections are decreasing again, as a collective (Black people especially) we have all experienced burn out. From protests in June 2020 about George Floyd to having to ride out this Omicron wave of COVID-19, I can say for myself that I am tired, and I am pretty sure my Black siblings feel the same. I know in the work that I do as DEI coordinator, I am expected to educate those around about what equity and inclusion work means and looks like, but at the same time that can be exhausting. Navigating PWI's in academia has taught me that I need to take breaks. These institutions have had decades, and some nearly a century, to enforce the practices that continue to exclude Black students and professors to this day, and I need to understand that the actions that I do daily are not going to topple systemic racism overnight. However, to remain motivated to do this work, rest is perhaps the best tool I can use to ensure my daily experiences in white academia add to my health and wellness rather than take away from it. –– Anne Areta, Program Coordinator

Published on March 4th, 2022

Last updated on July 20th, 2022