‘To be young, gifted and Black’
For the final newsletter of Black History Month, I want to amplify work published by URL Media partners Black Voice News, Sahan Journal and WURD Radio about everyday Black folks doing what they can to make the world a better place.
First is Amanda E/J Morrison, founder of Mented Cosmetics and co-founder of Julie, which is a new FDA-approved emergency contraceptive brand. Black Voice News recently talked with her about the importance of providing women of reproductive age a safe space to talk about emergency contraception.
“Our belief is that by giving people a box that is beautiful and approachable and looks like anything else they would have picked up in personal care, that will help reduce the shame at the store, meaning more women will find it more comfortable to buy the product,” she told Black Voice News. “We also think by providing content and education online, dispelling a ton of myths, we can empower people to really make the best decision for themselves because they understand what they’re buying and they understand how their bodies work.”
Bonus: Black Voice News also published this great piece celebrating the contributions of Black LGBTQ+ folks that you don’t want to miss.
Next is Dr. Brooke Cunningham, the first Black woman to head the Minnesota Department of Health. Sahan Journal recently spoke with Cunningham about her goals to dismantle racism through patient care.
“I did not have [being the] commissioner of health on my radar,” she told Sahan Journal. “For me the thing that’s been important is to move into those spaces that are just an opportunity for me to have a greater positive impact.”
Bonus: In partnership with MPR News, Sahan Journal republished this story about pioneering Black journalist and civil rights activist Charlayne Hunter-Gault and her years covering Black lives.
Lastly, we have Mazzie Casher, co-founder and executive director of Philly Truce, an organization and mobile app that seeks to prevent gun violence among young Philadelphians. WURD Radio recently spoke with Casher about the organization’s impact so far as it prepares to celebrate its third anniversary.
“We’ve been able to access a number of schools in West Philly to do gun violence prevention assemblies,” Casher told WURD Radio. “We have a movie, a film, a short film called, It Starts in the Home, and we play that. It’s all directed to challenge the no-snitching culture and all of that.”
Through these school assemblies, Casher said the organization has been able to mediate situations between young people that might have escalated to grave violence.
And while Black History Month is soon coming to a close, I encourage you to continue to celebrate the achievements of folks in your community like Morrison, Cunningham and Casher throughout the year. As Nina Simone sang, “To be young, gifted, and Black is where it’s at” — and I'd add that Black ingenuity at any age is where it's at. —Alicia Ramirez
Uplift. Respect. Love.