February is Black History Month, when we raise awareness of and appreciate the myriad accomplishments and experiences of African Americans. This year’s theme is “Black Resistance.” As the Association for the Study of African American Life and History explains, “This is a call to everyone, inside and outside the academy, to study the history of Black Americans’ responses to establish safe spaces, where Black life can be sustained, fortified, and respected.”
As advocates for prevention and holistic wellness, we encourage you to learn more about the history of Black people’s experiences with the health care and mental health systems. Mental Health America offers a wide-ranging collection of Black History Month resources covering Black Mental Health History, statistics, Black voices, podcasts and more. “Learning about the history of systemic racism during Black History Month—and all year—in the mental health system and movement and how it harms Black communities in the US and around the world is key for creating a mentally healthier world,” MHA writes.
We’ve also collected a number of Black History Month events in Milwaukee:
African American Health and Mental Health in WI Panel
Tuesday, February 7 & Thursday, February 9
Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus is sponsoring two virtual panel discussions on African American Health and Mental Health in Wisconsin. Facilitated by state Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee), the discussion aims to bring awareness about breaking down barriers to health and mental health and treatment for Black Wisconsinites and ways to improve overall health, wellbeing, and outcomes.
The panel will be held twice on Zoom. Register at the links below.
Magical Black Tears Experience: Museum Exhibition
Through February 28
The Magical Black Tears Experience is an interactive exhibition based on the children’s picture book Magical Black Tears: A Protest Story by Decoteau J. Irby. The exhibition teaches children ages 4-12 about direct action as a vehicle for creating a more just society for Black people. In the pilot exhibition, caregivers and children can watch films, read, write, create, pretend-play, and problem-solve in a fun setting that teaches how everyday people take direct action to create a world free from racism. This free exhibition is open Mondays-Fridays in February, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Create Gallery at MATC Downtown’s main building, 1015 N. Sixth St., Milwaukee M Building, Milwaukee. Get your ticket here.
Black History Month Racial Healing Meditation Series
Thursdays, February 9, 16 & 23
Tricklebee Café is hosting a series centered on The Night is Long but Light Comes in the Morning: Meditations for Racial Healing by Dr. Catherine Meeks on Thursdays in February to observe Black History Month. The gatherings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at 4424 W. North Ave., Milwaukee; they’re free and copies of the book will be available to borrow on site. A light meal will be provided. Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magical Black Tears Experience: An Evening with Author Decoteau J. Irby
Friday, February 10
Educators, caregivers, and children and youth advocates, join host Dr. Latish Reed and educator, author, and musician Decoteau J. Irby for a lively evening of conversation about his creative process and collaborations creating the children's book Magical Black Tears: A Protest Story, developing the Magical Black Tears Museum Exhibition, and the broader role of creativity, education, and arts in the fight for racial justice. Doors open at 5 p.m.; program of conversation and music begins 5:45 p.m. RSVP here.
Milwaukee Film Black History Month 2023 Schedule
Milwaukee Film’s Black Lens program and Milwaukee County Office of Equity are offering a month of Black-focused film screenings and events to mark Black History Month. Highlights include great food and a conversation on February 26 with Dr. Bert Davis and Judge Derek Mosley on the rich history of African American food culture, and a celebration of Kendrick Lamar on February 17 with music journalist Miles Marshall Lewis. Download the program guide here.