Throughout February, we recognize Black History Month and the achievements, challenges, and contributions of Black people across our country.
We are grateful to celebrate achievements by Black Americans. Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court in 2022. The Super Bowl featured two Black starting quarterbacks this year for the first time in its 57-year history.
At the same time, stories like the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis dominate the headlines, highlighting injustices and the mistreatment of Black people.
As a behavioral health organization, we also know people of color face disparities in accessing care for mental health and substance use disorders. Our Diversity Equity Inclusion Belonging (DEIB) Committee formed to start addressing these and similar issues for our clients and workforce, as well as increase awareness and education.
What does Black History Month look like at Rosecrance?
Clients and staff have participated in many activities and events throughout the month.
The annual Heart Art Show at our residential campuses highlighted Black artists and musicians.
Clients rotated through stations at interactive living history exhibits to learn more about influential Black leaders. There were special ways that sites celebrated Black history with art, food, and entertainment.
All these activities give staff and especially clients the space and time to learn about Black history, to process thoughts and emotions around the month and its purpose, and—oftentimes—have some challenging conversations.
As a behavioral health leader, we must model inclusivity by prioritizing Black History Month education and awareness just as we welcome all people through our doors.
“People bring difficult experiences and traumatic pasts that may not be in alignment with our values and goals as an organization,” said Abby Nelson, therapeutic recreation coordinator for Rosecrance. “If we want to help people resolve those and shift their life stories, it’s our responsibility to embrace difficult conversations and create safe spaces where people can bring their pain and not feel ashamed or belittled by it.”
That means welcoming people and welcoming different believes but still prioritizing respect and standing strong in our beliefs and core values—compassion, excellence, diversity, commitment, integrity, recovery, spirituality, and innovation.