Two weeks ago, I wrote about February being American Heart Month. Today, I want to recognize that it's also Black History Month in the USA and Canada.
According to History.com, "the event grew out of 'Negro History Week,' the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month."
Each Tuesday this month, I've been posting on social media about notable firsts for African Americans in the United States. While looking back is important, in today's post I want to focus on celebrating diversity. I chose to include the below Dr. Seuss quote because it's a beautiful thing that each individual is unique. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same.
Back in my days of working in Human Resources, managing International Benefits, I attended a conference that focused on diversity. The most memorable takeaway from that conference was this slight alteration to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” This recognizes that we're not all the same, and therefore, don't all want to be treated exactly alike.
This idea came up again in two virtual health and wellness conferences that I've attended more recently, when presenters talked about the importance of equity rather than equality. Equality means treating everyone the same, while equity recognizes that not everyone's needs are the same, and encourages distributing resources based on need.
As a health and wellness professional, part of my role is acknowledging that racial health disparities exist in the United States, and doing my part to work towards equity. Social and economic factors make up at least 40% of the determinants of health.
A silver lining of COVID is that I was able to start offering donation-based yoga classes via Zoom to make yoga more accessible to those who don't live close to a yoga studio, or can't afford studio prices. I also created online wellness programs to help people connect with body, mind and spirit; empowering them to better manage stress, embrace change, and face challenges with grace.
This month and beyond, let's celebrate our differences, call it out when we see (or are ourselves contributing to) inequity, and do our part to create systems that are inclusive.