From artists, to philosophers, to community leaders, and everything between—U.S. history is full of awe-inspiring Black figures. CBM’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council invites you to be intentional about recognizing and honoring Black Americans’ rich role in our history. It is also a time to discuss ways to address issues facing the Black community.

This year’s theme for Black History Month “Black Health and Wellness,” honors Black scholars and health care providers for their contributions to health-related knowledge and care. The theme is also a way to highlight the profound, race-based inequities in our healthcare systems—which trace back to slavery, through the Jim Crow era, and unfortunately persist today. Gaps in insurance coverage, unequal access to care, and systemic racism all contribute to disproportionately poor health outcomes. The particularly heavy burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black communities and health care professionals has highlighted these disparities and further underscored the need to make health equity a national conversation. To this end, the American Psychological Association launched the national #EquityFlattensTheCurve initiative, which focuses on advocating for structural and legislative changes across federal, state, and local levels. You can learn more about the initiative here: https://pages.apa.org/equity-flattens-the-curve/

In response to COVID-19, as well as the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, mental health professionals have been having long overdue conversations about addressing racism in clinical practice. In DBT broadly, and at CBM in particular, we are having conversations about enhancing cultural responsiveness to Black and African American people. This includes moving beyond the focus on helping Black patients cope with racism using DBT skills, to putting the onus on White therapists to use DBT to dismantle racism through changing the beliefs and behaviors that perpetuate it. This represents a meaningful shift from complicit, quiet acceptance of racism, toward interrogating and actively working to change it. CBM is committed to continued education of our staff and engaging in conversations to consistently improve our delivery of culturally-appropriate therapy. 

If you are looking for ways to learn more about Black history and culture, there are opportunities in Milwaukee to do so!

America’s Black Holocaust Museum is hosting the grand re-opening of their onsite museum on February 25. According to their website, the organization “builds public awareness of the harmful legacies of slavery and Jim Crow in America and promotes racial repair, reconciliation, and healing.” You can also view online exhibits on their website: https://www.abhmuseum.org/

Milwaukee Film’s Black Lens program is marking Black History Month by focusing its February programming on a month-long agenda of films and events that “celebrate, honor, and elevate Black culture and traditions.” Learn more about the 30 films and numerous events (including a post-screening discussion at ABHM!) on their website: https://mkefilm.org/black-history-month-2022-milwaukee-film

Pierson, A., Arunagiri, V., & Bond, D. (2021, January 12). “You Didn’t Cause Racism, and You Have to Solve it Anyways”: Antiracist Adaptations to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for White Therapists. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/jbzq4