“It is utterly exhausting being Black in America — physically, mentally, and emotionally. While many minority groups and women feel similar stress, there is no respite or escape from your badge of color.” – Marian Wright Edelman
Let us celebrate Black History Month by honoring what those who helped create that history would undoubtedly want: Their future generations to be well.
The past two years have been extremely taxing for everyone, and often disproportionately so for Black and Brown communities. This Black History Month, Discover TMA (our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative) is partnering with the TMA Wellness team to call attention to the dire wellness needs within the Black community and to support organizations addressing those needs.
Black families have struggled to secure wealth and build financial wellness in America post-slavery. While organizations like Capital Savings Bank and individuals like Madame C.J. Walker — America’s first Black woman millionaire — made progress early, challenges like lower incomes, systematic inequalities, lack of financial literacy, and limited home ownership continue to plague Black and Brown communities.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019 national Black poverty rate was more than double the white poverty rate in the U.S. (roughly 22% compared to 9%, respectively), as reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation,” writes Erin C. Perkins. She discusses those disparities and explores some of the challenges and solutions in her article “Tackling Disparities in Finance for Black and African Americans.”
This month, and throughout the year, our employees will have opportunities to attend workshops to support their financial wellness, with topics ranging from the basics to taxes to specific tips to make the most of their money.
Help create financial wellness for others by supporting Black-owned small businesses in your area. Last BHM, Discover TMA shared a series with Black-owned restaurants and businesses in each of TMA’s hub locations: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York City – these lists are a great place to start, but there are so many more to explore and patron.
Study after study link poor health in Black communities to segregation, substandard housing, food deserts, poverty, and threats from pollution. Uché Blackstock, an urgent-care physician and the founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, says, “Black communities were essentially already sick before coronavirus,” mainly due to pre-existing conditions — conditions we can take action against.
We’re hosting an employee Peloton challenge this month, encouraging our people to take action to support their physical wellness and mental health. Did you know there’s Black History Month collection in the Peloton app with nearly 80 classes on-demand? Only challenge is only for employees, but we hope you’ll join us getting active and caring for your physical health this month.
Mental health has often been a taboo topic in the Black community. As far back as slavery, if Black people expressed difficulty coping in any way, they were believed to be weak and expendable. So much so that there is a residual effect to this day that equates these difficulties with innate weakness.
Thankfully, these issues are being illuminated by organizations doing great work in this space. Here are a couple: Alkeme Health, founded by former NFL player Ryan Mundy provides mental health content that addresses the many lenses of the Black experience. Black Mental Wellness delivers access to evidence-based information and resources about mental health and behavioral health topics from a Black perspective. Both have great resources to tackle issues that are historically unaddressed by health tech companies, such as intergenerational trauma, systemic racism, anxiety, and microaggressions. Mental health is so important and impacts every part of your life – let’s end the stigma!
To show our support, Discover TMA and TMA Wellness are each making donations to the organization BEAM, a national training, movement building, and grant making institution that is dedicated to the healing, wellness, and liberation of Black and marginalized communities.
Finally, here’s playlist from our TMA Music team full of some amazing Black artists and songs – it’s the perfect soundtrack for your Black History Month celebration, and beyond.