We’ve been asked several times since our inception in 2012 why Black Health Matters, but the questions—and the vitriol—have only increased since the #BlackLivesMatter movement formed in the aftermath of Mike Brown’s death in August 2014.
As we know, research on race and health in the United States shows pervasive health disparities between racial and ethnic groups. The possible causes—genetics, socioeconomic factors, access to care and racial injustice—continue to be debated and are likely some combination of all of these. We also know that disparities in health between blacks and whites are nothing new. They have existed since we were dragged here in shackles during the Middle Passage.
Given the current political climate and the heightened attention to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there should be a collective call to action to offer solutions to a balanced equality among all people, a need to understand the inequalities that exist. Health doesn’t just affect African Americans, it affects humanity. And collectively, we all are connected by matters of our health.
So why should this matter to all Americans?
Black Health Matters because #BlackLivesMatter. Without our health, nothing else matters. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was aware of this when he said, “of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman.”
The #BlackLivesMatter movement focuses on the social injustices that impede African American communities from realizing their potential. So, too, does Black Health Matters focus on how health inequalities keep our people from reaching their dreams. When adults in their 40s suffer massive strokes and are unable to work, when working families lose the foundation of grandparents in assisting with children, when many mentally ill are treated by the prison industrial complex, clearly our community ecosystem is impaired.
Black Health Matters addresses the overall mental, physical and emotional well-being of our existence in this society. It’s clear that Black Health Matters, as many corporations have developed, or are in the midst of developing, programs that seek to close these health gaps and that spotlight efforts to make health care more inclusive.
We are pleased to partner with socially conscious health and pharmaceutical companies that support our mission to improve health literacy. These corporations enable us to develop and maintain our laser focus on content creation and educational activations that will improve the health outcomes of thousands.
A #BlackHealthMatters movement is just as important as the #BlackLivesMatter movement, as the widening health gap is debatably among the most vital and inadequately addressed concerns. No one but Black Health Matters is addressing how collectively to empower each one, to reach each one, in order to build a more balanced and holistic movement, which defines and encompasses our interconnectedness and how we work together to solve such problems.
We stand with the Association of Black Cardiologists, the National Medical Association and other professional, civic and Greek organizations committed to making #BlackLivesMatter. Our mission is to prevent future generations from living in a world where homicide doesn’t stand alongside heart disease and stroke as a leading cause of death for African Americans.
At the rate we are going, and with the dramatic improvements in health care and our environment, our children can realistically expect to live to be 100 years old. One hundred will be the new 80. And, boy, won’t that matter!
As Black Health Matters, Black Lives Will Matter.
—Roslyn Daniels, Publisher