For Black History Month 2022, the Black Organizing Program brought it back to the foundation of Carter G. Woodson’s Negro History Week. The foundation of Woodson’s celebration was an effort to reassert Black people and experiences within our own history and world history. To go against the grain of the commodification of Black History Month, it was important to go back to our foundation and center Black people not just in February, but 365 days a year.
This past Black History Month has been a special one for the Black Organizing Program. Through February, we held two wonderful events highlighting the everyday experiences of folks in the Black community. In addition to hosting spaces for conversations, we also had a call for action to fill out our Black Organizing Program Survey. The purpose of the BOP survey is to help inform programming that reflects the interests of our supporters from the Black Community. To read about each event and find out what the survey results are, please continue reading below!
Black Love Event
To pay tribute to Black HIV Awareness Day (February 7th), we held our Black Love event to discuss the stigmas within Black communities around STI/STD testing and disclosing sexual health statuses within relationships. Tiffany Lashai Curtis, a Sex Educator and Writer, led our discussion on why it is important to destigmatize STI/STDs within Black communities. The three main takeaways from the conversation that resonated the most are:
- Consent is everything! Consent should always be part of your sexual experiences no matter where your journey is. It is your right to change your consent to fit your comfortability with each partner or partner. It is also important to respect other people’s consent boundaries.
- Communication is key to a healthy and pleasurable sexual experience. Through communication, you are not only expressing what you want, but you are also expressing how you want to be cared for.
- Aftercare should NOT be an afterthought. The end of intercourse is not the end of your experience with someone. Expressing how your sexual partner(s) can care for you after sex helps eliminate any embarrassment, shame, or confusion.
Shop and Chat
In a national effort to celebrate Black-owned businesses, the Black Organizing Program participated in a week of nationwide Shop and Chats. Here at PPAP, we held our first Shop and
Chat with Marsh+Mane, a Black-owned beauty supply store located in Philadelphia. During the Shop and Chat, we discussed Jenea’s (Owner of Marsh+Mane) diagnosis with endometriosis, the normalization of pain in Black communities, and how she curated Marsh+Mane to be a safe space for Black people. We also touched on the lack of representation of Black women who are diagnosed with endometriosis.The lack of representation comes in the form of medical implicit bias against women of color as well as the absence of a cultural lens to understanding how symptoms vary based on ethnicity. Since March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, take the time to educate yourself on the racial disparities within endometriosis research.
Also, if you are a Black business owner or know a Black business that you would like to highlight, please submit information to [email protected].
Within February, we geared up our calls for survey submissions. Y’all heard the call and showed out! We had 84 submissions in which folks expressed what kind of programming they find relevant. As of now:
- 33 people have expressed interest in programming around reproductive health and food access.
- 5 people have expressed interest in programming around reproductive and housing access.
- Others submitted interest in seeing programming around abortion access, sexual education, and storytelling.
Overall, we are still accepting survey submissions, so if you are a member of the Black community, please click here.
If you are interested in staying informed about future events, volunteer opportunities, or just like to be updated, keep an eye out for our BOP Newsletter! To be added to our email list, please submit your email to [email protected]. If you would like to meet and learn more about how you can get involved in BOP, check out the BOP Calendar and schedule a time to chat!
Finally, with the end of Black History Month and the beginning of Women’s History Month, it is critical to center the most marginalized communities in the fight towards reproductive freedom! Keep an eye out for our March programming!