About Black History Month

Each February since 1926, National Black History Month allows the opportunity for acknowledgement and celebration of the important developments in American history. By shining a light on Black history, we can understand those around us and grow stronger as a community.

2022 Theme: Black Health and Wellness

Each year, a theme is pronounced for Black History Month. This year, the theme “Black Health and Wellness,” explores “the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.”

In the beginning, in order to foster good health and wellness, individuals and communities embarked on “self-determination, mutual aid, and social support initiatives” to ensure their needs were met. Clinics were initially established by individuals, grassroots organizations and mutual aid societies to provide healthcare spaces and opportunities to Black Americans. This was a necessary action as Black Americans experienced economic and health disparities due to discrimination, oppression, and bias at mainstream institution. These all-too-common disparities led to the development of phrases such as “When white folks catch a cold, Black folks get pneumonia.” Since these early developments, there’s been an increase of widespread diverse representation within health care.

Black Health & COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, a spotlight was shone on the disproportionate health disparity rate. “Health Equity” means that “everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Equitable opportunity includes equal access and distribution of resources.” When systems directly address how equitable outcomes can be maximized, health disparities can be prevented.

With information on the lack of health equity between White and Black Americans becoming more evident, it’s important to increase awareness for opportunities to address the causes of these underlying equalities.

The degrees of health equity are heavily reliant on social determinants of health. These factors are directly related to the racial and ethnic disparities of COVID-19. The five key areas of social determinants of health include:

  1. Neighborhood and Physical Environment
  2. Health and Healthcare
  3. Occupation and Job Conditions
  4. Income and Wealth
  5. Education

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought social and racial injustice and inequity to the forefront of public health. With an increase of awareness, knowledge, and support from our community, we can better address these issues head-on.

Black Health & Other Medical Diagnoses

The reality of the threat racism has on health equity is not limited to COVID-19. Evidence has shown that racial and ethnic minority groups experience higher rates of illness and death across a wide range of health conditions. Other health diagnoses that have data of disproportionate care include “breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, obesity, prostate cancer, and sickle cell”.

Racism negatively impacts the physical health of people all over the world, and people within our local community. By preventing them from attaining proper care, the societal health of our local community decreases.

How to Support in Your Local Community

Community engagement allows each and everyone the ability to have involvement in social equality. Although you may not be personally affected by these issues, you live in a world of collaboration and care with those who are. You have the power to help those within your community.

This is where you can help! We’d like to hear from you. What do you see as the greatest need(s) of the Winona community?

Long-Term Giving Plans

If you’re able to give regularly and are called to a passion in this field (or others), you may be interested in hearing about the advantages of a donor advised fund.

When you establish a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) at the Winona Community Foundation, you make an irrevocable gift to the Foundation and receive an immediate tax deduction for the gift. In exchange, you retain the right to name the fund, recommend grants from the fund, and to name successor advisors. Your fund’s assets are co-mingled and invested with those of the Foundation where it benefits. Your DAF can be endowed or spendable. Although many people will establish a DAF during their lifetime, many will do so through a gift in their will or estate.

The Winona Community Foundation offers a range of charitable options and funds for individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits to accomplish their philanthropic goals. As your trusted partner, resource, and steward for community philanthropy, the Winona Community Foundation is committed to helping every individual give back in a way that is both meaningful to them and to the causes they care about.

Zoe Kwitek
Marketing and Community Relations Specialist at the Winona Community Foundation.