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Celebrating Black History Month 2024: Honoring African American Artists and Their Impact on Health and LGBTQIA+ Communities

Waterart image of Black People. Black History Month theme this year is African American artist

February is Black History Month. This year we are focusing on the remarkable contributions of African American artists – poets, writers, visual artists, and dancers – and their profound influence on health and the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Art and Healing 

Art has always been a powerful medium for expression, storytelling, and healing. African American artists have long used their talents to confront social injustices and advocate for change. Through their poetry, literature, songs, visual arts, and dance, they have captured the essence of the human experience, sparking conversations and fostering connections that transcend boundaries. 

In the realm of health, art plays a pivotal role in promoting mental, emotional, and physical well-being. By creating spaces for artistic expression and appreciation, we empower individuals to embrace their identities, share their stories, and embark on journeys of self-discovery and healing. 

Empowering LGBTQIA+ Communities 

African American artists have been pioneers in LGBTQIA+ rights and visibility. From Langston Hughes to Audre Lorde, their art and activism have inspired generations to embrace their identities and demand equity and justice. Fenway Health celebrated Audre Lord in October 2023 by hosting the 25th Annual Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch, a celebration of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), Queer, Transgender, People of Color (QTPoC), non-binary and gender diverse, and LGBQIA+ community members and their supporters whose lives have been affected by cancer. On April 13, we’ll be hosting the Annual Bayard Rustin Community Breakfast, now in its 34th year, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Bayard Rustin, one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement, was an openly gay, African-American leader actively engaged in social movements of the 1950s and 1960s. The Breakfast is an event of Fenway Health for LGBTQ+ people from communities of color to inform, affirm, and empower all in the continuing HIV/AIDS crisis. 

To learn more about Bayard Rustin watch this Netflix Documentary “Who Was Bayard Rustin?” and follow us on social media this month as we highlight the works of African American artivists (artist and activist) throughout the month. Stay tuned for an episode of the “Pride in Our Health Podcast,” where we’ll discuss topics covering HIV/AIDs in the black community on Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which we mark on February 7. 

Let’s honor the past, celebrate the present, and work towards a more inclusive future. 

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