This year’s Black History Month has a very fitting theme for Health and Wellness Online that’s so close to my heart! Every February of every calendar year is a celebration of African American history and the accomplishments, achievements, and other successes of African Americans. We do this also to remind ourselves that systemic racism still exists (as well as other types of bias). The celebration every February affords more visibility of these great people as well as the organizations who combat prejudice in its many forms.
Folks – we need to be reminded, not only for our fellow African Americans, but other groups of people who are subjected to bias.
So let us be reminded, let us celebrate, and let us make new friends regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, nationality, etc., you know the drill! Remember that diversity makes us very individual and thus interesting.
This year of 2022 is focusing on activities, rituals, roles, and other initiatives which black communities practice to be healthy and otherwise well. Some of these include birth workers, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, and others. Such initiatives help decrease prejudice related disparities which have occurred within the conventional health care system.
Health and Wellness has such a special space in my heart as it focuses on prevention, being positive about one’s own body, exercise, nutrition, and gardening, to mention a few. So, mental health – inclusive of how one thinks and feels – is a very important part of this year’s theme. So is one’s spirituality.
Let’s take a stroll back in history and see some of the most significant inventions which have changed lives for everyone:
Charles Richard drew invented blood banks.
George Crum invented the potato chip
Garrett Morgan invented the gas mask.
Late in the 19th century, Sarah Boone improved the ironing board and received a patent for this improvement.
Has anyone ever used a home security system?
Today’s versions have taken various elements from Mary Van Brittan Brown’s earlier, patented design. Garrett Morgan (again), after seeing a serious car accident in Cleveland, Ohio, added a “yield” light which would warn drivers that they need to stop their vehicles.
Frederick McKinley Jones created a cooling system for the roof, and this was used to refrigerate trucks in the mid-1930s! In 1940 he got his patent and co-founded the US Thermo Control Company, now known as Thermo King.
Mark Dean helped to invent the color monitor. Otherwise, we’d all still be using our monitors, which were like black and white televisions!
Lonnie Johnson, an Aerospace Engineer for NASA, invented the super popular toy, the Super Soaker.
George Washington Carver invented … peanut butter. Thanks so much, George – it’s one of my favorite foods!
There are countless more inventions that we use in everyday life, even and especially today, that we have to thank our black African American friends for. I could write a book … and maybe I will someday!
And let’s not forget the wonderful Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work which took us significantly ahead in the quest for equality in America. His work not only benefitted African Americans, but also other so-called “minority groups” such as the Jews, the Latinos, and other significant racial and ethnic groups of people who call America their home.
But let’s get back to health and wellness. Over the years, both physical and mental health of black Americans have been marred by racial bias, iniquities, and in the current environment, the COVID-19 “pandemic.” One shining example of this, still true today, is that black Americans experience more anxiety and depression than their Caucasian counterparts but are less likely to access treatment. Some contributing factors to this are stigma, mistrust of the American health care system, and other things which impact how black Americans must deal with such issues.
It's clear that we need to increase our efforts at educating ourselves about the desires and needs, thoughts and practices, of other diverse groups of individuals; although, we now teach cultural diversity much more extensively than ever before (I know this as a college professor).
If you follow my writings, you know that I am very much in favor of self-care. Black women, who face so much discrimination, can benefit greatly from self-care. It can be used as a tool to counteract systemic racism and trauma.
Improving nutrition is a great thing for anyone to do, including African Americans! With a background rich in soul food, as one example, how it is prepared and the ingredients used typically cause one to usher in metabolic syndrome – problems with heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, etc.
So why not keep those glorious and delicious recipes and just substitute in healthier foods? One can fry in healthy oil, and there are healthier options for thickening gravies than just white flour (think arrowroot or xanthan gum). If the pork one is using comes from a healthy animal which is raised with healthier practices, why not use that meat and its accompanying fat? Remember that our brains are comprised of large amounts of cholesterol, so healthy saturated fats (including the ever-popular coconut oil) are actually good for us. Leafy greens are used extensively, and one can choose the varieties from growers who do not use toxic chemicals and genetically modified plants.
But the most important thing of all in celebrating Black History Month is remembering that we are all human beings, with the same desires and needs. Why let something like skin color ruin what could be wonderful relationships with one another?
If you need an attitude adjustment, by all means...do it! I know I have needed them on more than one occasion! It’s nothing to be ashamed about. It makes us stronger and better.
And, as always, please have a happy, holistically healthy day!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.