Friday, February 25, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Black Women for Wellness

Today is the last Feel Good Friday during Black History Month, and Women’s History Month is just around the corner. What a perfect day to talk about Black Women for Wellness. 

Founded in 1997 and based in Los Angeles, California, Black Women for Wellness (BWW) is an organization that is “committed to the health and well-being of Black women and girls through health education, empowerment and advocacy.” What began as a group of women concerned about the health and well-being of their babies has grown into an organization with a variety of health and wellness programs.
At the root of all BWW’s work is the belief that “we have the solutions, resources and responsibility to create the shifts and change needed to impact our health status. Each of us must develop our personal power, hold accountable and support acknowledged leadership, and most importantly, contribute to our survival and growth as a community.”
BWW programs that help the community fall into five major categories:
  • Sisters in Motion – is a program with goals to decrease the incidents of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity through education, lifestyle change, prevention and physical activity.
  • Sisters with Options – includes strategies for women to advocate for themselves when seeking quality health services. Specific programs here address mental health and colorectal cancer.
  • Sisters @ Eight – is a community forum for education and engagement held on the 2nd Friday of every month.
  • Daughters and Sons of Technology – promotes educational and career opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) for people of color, especially women and girls.
There are also programs focused on environmental justice information and resources on COVID-19, and weekly events such as cooking demonstrations, interactive discussions and community outreach.
If you’d like to support Black Women for Wellness, there are many ways to do so. Become a member, make a donation and amplify their work on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @BW4WLA and Instagram @bw4wla.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Outdoor Afro

Happy Feel Good Friday! Today we’re going get outside with Outdoor Afro.

Founded in 2009 by Rue Mapp and headquartered in Oakland, CA, the mission of Outdoor Afro is “to celebrate and inspire Black connections and leadership in nature.” The work they do is designed “to disrupt the false perception that Black People do not have a relationship with nature.” 

How does Outdoor Afro foster these connections? With help from over 100 passionate, volunteer leaders. Every year these leaders are required to attend a training event to receive ongoing education. Training topics include risk management, policy and storytelling interpretation. These volunteer leaders then create and guide monthly trips to foster collaboration and strengthen people’s connections with the outdoors. Each year more than 40,000 people join a trip with Outdoor Afro!

With locations in 56 cities around the country, the recreational activities available are quite varied. Examples include hiking, birding, fishing, kayaking, and gardening. In 2022, the focus is on swimming. Black children ages 5-19 are six times more likely to drown in swimming pools than white children so Outdoor Afro has a goal to teach 100,000 Black children to swim. They’ll do this by offering scholarships for swimming lessons, aka swimmerships. Learn more in this 30-second video.

For Black History Month, Outdoor Afro is encouraging Black people to share photos of their outdoor adventures on social media using the hashtag #BlackHistoryOutdoors. In 2020, Oprah joined Outdoor Afro to hike in the redwoods at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland! If you’d like to join an adventure, use this link to find a group near you. As they explain on their website, “anyone who supports our mission is welcome to attend our events. You don’t have to have an afro, to be part of Outdoor Afro.”

You don’t have to have an afro to support Outdoor Afro either. Make a donation, shop for merch, and help amplify their message on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @OutdoorAfro and Instagram @outdoorafro #OutdoorAfro.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Feel Good Friday - DuSable Museum of African American History

For today’s Feel Good Friday, we’re continuing our celebration of Black History Month by sharing the story of the DuSable Museum of African American History.


Founded by Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs in 1961, at a time when Black culture was overlooked by most museums and academic establishments, the mission of the DuSable Museum of African American History is “to promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions, and experiences of African Americans through exhibits, programs, and activities that illustrate African and African American history, culture and art.”


Located in Chicago, it is the first museum of its type in the country and “the longest standing independent keeper of Black America’s history”. What began in Dr. Burroughs’ living room 60 years ago is now an independent institution that welcomes over 100,000 visitors each year.


The museum holds over 15,000 pieces of art, including paintings, sculpture, print works and historical memorabilia. Visitors can view the collection and attend special events such as an upcoming theatrical reading of the trial transcript of the State of Mississippi vs. Milam and Bryant, the men who were found not guilty of murdering Emmett Till. Many of the events that have already taken place at the museum can be viewed in the video archives.


Educational programs put on by the DuSable include: Code Black, a lecture series which addresses topics such as reparations, history of Black activism and Covid 19; lunch and learn discussions where people learn about politics and civic participation; and Black Fine Art Month, an event held every October to celebrate the Black Fine Art aesthetic.


On February 16th, the DuSable is hosting a virtual event on Instagram, called Equiano.Stories. It reimagines the childhood saga of Olaudah Equiano and how it would be represented if he had Instagram when he was enslaved in 1756. Fascinating!

If you’d like to support the DuSable and their innovative approaches to sharing African American history, there are many ways to do so. Purchase a membership to the museum, shop for merch, make a donation and share the love on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them Twitter @DuSableMuseum and Instagram@dusablemuseum. #thisiswhatweDu 

Friday, February 4, 2022

Feel Good Friday - National Black Women's Justice Institute

February is Black History Month. Let’s kick it off by highlighting the work of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute. 

Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, the National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI) is an organization with a mission to “research, elevate, and educate the public about innovative, community-led solutions to address the criminalization of Black women and girls.”


As they share in a report on their website, extreme prison sentences disproportionately impact and harm Black women, who account for one third of women serving life sentences in the United States. NBWJI wants to “transform the US criminal legal system, building, in its place, pathways to opportunity and healing.”


To achieve this goal, they focus their work on research and evaluation of local and national programs, training and assistance for government systems and direct service providers, and recommendations for changes to public policy.


Programs fall into one of three core commitment areas: dismantle pathways to criminalization and confinement for Black women and girls; increase and enhance opportunities with and for formerly incarcerated women and girls; and promote healing-centered justice.


Some specific examples of this work include: an intersectional study of Black women, trans and gender nonconforming people’s encounters with police; training that enables law enforcement and probation officers to more effectively respond to the needs of commercially sexually exploited children; expansion of culturally competent and gender-responsive mental health services for Black girls and other youth of color; an interactive program to educate Black boys and young men, on how to become allies in the work of eliminating sexual violence; and an online peer network for educators seeking support and resources to transform schools into places where girls of color can thrive.


In addition to their programs, NBWJI has many resources for people interested in exploring these topics in more detail. You can find reports, policy briefs and fact sheets at this link or check out the Lift Our Voices blog for analysis and opinion from NBWJI’s experts on the latest issues and news.


If you’re ready to help the National Black Women’s Justice Institute transform the criminal legal justice system, there are several ways to do so. Make a donation and amplify their message on social media. Like the NBWJI Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @NBWJInstitute and Instagram @nbwji.