10 Wellness Warriors on the Frontlines of Black Lives Matter
As the Black Lives Matter movement continues to prevail nationwide, countless voices of change are stepping up to help guide the movement and send a message about racial inequality and injustice. In the health and wellness space, black women are at the forefront, using their expertise to explain how racism and race-related issues impact the physical, mental, and emotional health of women of color—as well as highlighting the bias that exists in the wellness industry today. From medical doctors to chefs to therapists, these 10 influential black women are using their platforms to educate and inform, and to remind the world that black women are a major part of health and wellness.
Fitness coach and motivational speaker Chrissy King is standing up to racial injustice and speaking out about the Black Lives Matter movement. On June 2, King shared an Instagram post promoting a webinar she's hosting for health and fitness professionals that will focus on actively fighting racism in the wellness space. Her class will examine white supremacy, racism, and bias, as well as accountability. Learn more about the dates of her course and how to sign up on her website and Instagram page.
Sophia Roe has used her position as a prominent chef and wellness advocate to make the wellness world more inclusive and accepting. She founded Pillow Talk Sessions, a conversation series that provides an open, safe space to talk about food and health. Throughout the Black Lives Matter movement, she's continued to speak out about these issues and discuss her experiences with racism in the wellness community. On June 1, she shared a powerful image of herself at a Black Lives Matter march, including a caption to explain that influential black women in the wellness space.
"I’ve had so many white people ask me, 'Is it hard being one of the few black women in the wellness industry?' To which I say, 'EXCUSE ME?! BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE INVENTED WELLNESS!'" she wrote. "Who do you think grows, and sources all of your tea, herbs, tinctures, tonics, and broths for your 'wellness routine'? What cultures do you think started these rituals and remedies?"
T. Morgan Dixon
T. Morgan Dixon is the founder of GirlTrek, a public health and self-care organization for Black women. As a leader in the wellness community, she's been sharing information and posting in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on both her personal account and GirlTrek's Instagram account.
"We must continue to pour into each other. Support each other. Love each other," she wrote in a recent Instagram caption. "Because, after all, we are all we got."
Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and New York City-based author, is speaking out about racial injustice and educating others as to how they can actively fight racism. In a recent Instagram post, Feller provided her followers with a handful of resources—including books, websites, and charities—that all advocate change. She also spoke about how the health care system needs to step up and change the way they treat black patients.
"Healthcare providers need better training in anti bias and anti racism to deliver patient centered care," wrote Feller."There are several cultural equity tools that can be used for provider self-reflection and in turn help providers equitably serve a multi-cultural patient community."
Actress Tabitha Brown, known for her vegan foodie Instagram account, has been committed to giving a voice to the Black Lives Matter movement. Over the past few days, Brown has shared a handful of posts informing the non-black community of ways they can truly follow through with their commitment to racial equality.
"Knowledge is power, and self reflection can change the world," she wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday. "Love you all! Let’s come together and make a real difference in the world!"
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford
Licensed psychologist Dr. Joy Harden Bradford is the founder and host of Therapy for Black Girls, an organization that provides mental-health resources to black women. Thanks to her expertise and influence, she's helped black women find therapy resources throughout this time, and she's used her position to highlight racial injustice. Dozens of resources to help people cope with the current climate and learn more about racism are available on the Therapy for Black Girls website.
Joia Crear-Perry, MD
Joia Crear-Perry, MD, is a ob-gyn and founder of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, an organization dedicated to black maternal and infant health. On May 29, Dr. Crear-Perry participated in a Zoom call with other doctors and health care workers, where they discussed racial health inequalities. She shared a screenshot of it on Instagram.
"The policies and values of White Supremacy ideology that place Black people in harms way is why we have Racial Health Inequities," she wrote in her caption. "Y’all had 500 years to prove the theory of a White Supremacy. Let’s spend the next 500 working together for global justice and freedom. Healthcare plays a critical role in ending the belief in a hierarchy of human value based upon skin color."
As the founder of Ethel's Club, Naj Austin has been promoting wellness for people of color for years. The social and wellness club is focused on providing creatives of color with resources for mental, physical, and emotional health. Over the past week, the organization has been especially vocal about making sure that people of color get the support they need during this time. Austin also regularly promotes black-owned businesses, and he recently created Ethel's Club's parent company, Somewhere Good.
United Kingdom-based dietitian Tai Ibitoye is using her expertise to send a message about racism in the nutrition space. Ibitoye, a member of the British Dietetic Association (BDA), has spent the past six years educating men and women of all different backgrounds, ages, and races on how to eat healthier to prevent chronic illness. On June 3, Ibitoye shared a series of slides on Instagram that included ways to take action against prejudice in the dietetics industry.
"I am glad to see certain organisations finding ways to raise awareness & support Black individuals even though they shouldn’t have waited for more lives to be lost to elicit change," she wrote in her caption. "However, I am grateful and hoping that this is a positive step to the right direction."
Atlanta-based writer and model Nikia Phoenix created Black Girl Beautiful, a blog celebrating black women's beauty. In the past week, she's taken to Instagram to support other women of color in the Black Lives Matter movement. She's also raised her voice about the brands taking advantage of the movement and how that impacts the black community. In one Instagram post, she explained that she's seen plenty of brands publicly supporting Black Lives Matter, but their intentions felt inauthentic.
"Think about this for a minute. If you have never seen any of these brands, companies, or influencers speak up about diversity or racial injustice before, do you really think they’re being authentic now," she wrote in her caption. "Also, why would any of them mute or 'blackout' when they could be the allies lending their platforms to Black voices. To these people, your intentions are not truly coming from a loving place and are not aligned with the people you claim you’re helping. Check yourselves."
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