A community initiative that promotes equity through a network of community trust, advocacy, and collaboration to improve the quality of life for Black residents in Santa Cruz County.

BHM Community
Assessment Project

Black Health Matters Initiative Call to Action: Survey Participation

We want your input!

The United Way of Santa Cruz County and the Santa Cruz County Black Health Matters Initiative are continuing the work of increasing the visibility of the social determinants of health impacting Black/African Americans and the African Diaspora in Santa Cruz County, following the release of the “Making the Invisible, Visible” data snapshot in 2020. We are seeking community input that will inform a more in-depth report that explores the issues impacting quality of life for this community. The resulting insights may help local agencies, organizations, and the community understand how to address any inequities facing this group of historically excluded people. Community input will be gathered during a series of focus groups, and via a community survey.

You are invited to participate in the community survey (August 13 – 27, 2021) because you are someone who brings an informed perspective on what it means to be Black/African American and live, work and/or go to school in this county.

If you are interested to take the survey, please click the link below. You will be asked to complete an ‘informed consent’ form (for yourself and/or your young adult child) and respond to a few screening questions. While we value all perspectives, for this survey we want to hear from people who identify as Black/African American or of the African Diaspora, and live, work or go to school in Santa Cruz County. There will be weekly drawings for a gift card for online survey participants! We look forward to you participating in the community online survey!

Making the Invisible Visible

Santa Cruz County Black/ African American Health Snapshot
The BHM Initiative is proud to partner with United Way, Community Assessment Project on this critical centering of Black/African American experience of Santa Cruz County. We are thrilled at this next step in our work for the community and at the opportunity to partner with Applied Survey Research to push the impact of the initiative to the next level.
A huge thank you to all of our partners and advisors that have been vital in the process.
Click here to read the full
2020 Community Highlight Report

Letting Go of Superwoman: Self-Care for Women of Color

with Maiya Lanae Evans

In her 1988 memoir, A Burst of Light, Audrey Lorde wrote, “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” This presentation will uncover the unique health challenges that women of color experience, look at how the “superwoman” mentality can be harmful to their health, and discover ways to expand the conversation around mental health.

Maiya Lanae is a health educator, entrepreneur, and consultant. She currently teaches courses in public and holistic health at San Francisco State University and Skyline College, and is a 2020-2021 EPIC fellow at Stanford University. In addition, Maiya is a lead facilitator for the anti-racism organization, The Mosaic Project. She also hosts a health and wellness podcast called The Hey Girl Health Show, which focuses on health and wellness issues that impact women of color and their communities.

heygirlhealth.com
IG: @heygirlhealth
heygirlhealth@gmail.com
Click here to take the class

Letting Go of Superwoman: Self-Care for Women of Color

with Maiya Lanae Evans

In her 1988 memoir, A Burst of Light, Audrey Lorde wrote, “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” This presentation will uncover the unique health challenges that women of color experience, look at how the “superwoman” mentality can be harmful to their health, and discover ways to expand the conversation around mental health.

Maiya Lanae is a health educator, entrepreneur, and consultant. She currently teaches courses in public and holistic health at San Francisco State University and Skyline College, and is a 2020-2021 EPIC fellow at Stanford University. In addition, Maiya is a lead facilitator for the anti-racism organization, The Mosaic Project. She also hosts a health and wellness podcast called The Hey Girl Health Show, which focuses on health and wellness issues that impact women of color and their communities.

heygirlhealth.com
IG: @heygirlhealth
heygirlhealth@gmail.com
Click here to take the class

What is the
Black Health Matters Initiative?​

COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting Black communities all over the country. The same is true right here in Santa Cruz County. To this end, TWDCC has teamed up with County Park Friends to bring COVID- safe, TWDCC “click and mortar” classes, cultural programs and health resources to county park spaces. We have partnered with an advisory group of local organizations; the NAACP local SC chapter, United Way of SC County, Blended Bridges, and the SCC Black Coalition for Racial Justice and Equity to help guide our work and reach our community countywide.

We lead this effort through the arts and culture, which speak to the tradition of gathering, of sharing, and our human need to have fresh air, community, and joy at the heart of a healthy life. In addition to being high-risk for COVID-19 infection, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports serious and negative effects “across different areas of [Black] people’s lives, including...with household finances, jobs, health care, housing, transportation, caregiving, and well-being.”

TWDCC’s Black Health Matters Initiative focuses needed attention and community partnership to address the social determinants of health in our local Black community. Inviting folks outside into our beautiful county parks, with COVID-safe models, can be done. "What better way to support the community than through art-based, healthy activities together in the park?” says Cat Willis, Executive Director of the Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center (TWDCC).

“Our Parks and public spaces offer a canvas for COVID-safe health and healing during this difficult time. Together we can forge a future for our new normal that centers equity and builds from strength,” adds Mariah Roberts, Executive Director of County Park Friends.

Although this initiative is just beginning, establishing an ongoing arts and health driven platform of services and resources for Black SC families to access throughout the pandemic is our priority. We know that the work that we do to support families and individuals who are most vulnerable strengthens all of us and ensures our whole community is not just surviving, but thriving.

Announcements & Upcoming Happenings

Fall Antiracism Book Circle
The Body Is Not An Apology

by Sonya Renee Taylor
For Black Women and Girls

The Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV) presents this series of antiracism book circles as an act of radical education and collaboration. Our hope is to provide a unique opportunity to process the impact of the pandemic and respond to the renewed call for racial equity in our society. Our goal is to create a space in which participants may collectively and individually gain understanding that will result in healing, understanding, inclusion and empowerment. More importantly, they provide a way to maintain energetic human connections through virtual meeting spaces. Past circles have included participants from around the world to create transformative and educational learning spaces.

Facilitated by:

Amidia Frederick Bhavananda Lodkey Nikia Chaney Click on the button below for Eventbrite Information including session description, dates, facilitators’ bios and registration:

Past Happenings

October 17th:
Self-Care Saturday!

We hosted socially-distanced classes and workshops outdoors at Chanticleer Park, including a Wellness Workshop, Soca/Zumba Class, and Afternoon Guided Hike. View the Nutrition & Wellness livestream to the right!

October 24th:
Virtual Family BBQ

We hosted a drive-thru BBQ boxed lunch pickup at Brommer Street Park, and a Virtual Perforamance broadcast from the TWDCC Virtual Theater Studio, celebrating local talent including Afro Samba Soul, Tammi Brown, DJ Sparkle (Sonja Brunner), and more. 

Food graciously provided by Lakia Queen Kia Alkebulan, Bobby Bishop of Bobby’s Can Cooking, and Sweet Bean Bakery. 

November 7th:
Soca/Zumba with Eugenia Rice

VIRTUAL Soca/Zumba class w/ Eugenia Rice
No experience necessary, open to all ages.

November 14th:
Sunset Surf with Bella Bonner, founder of Black Surf Club Santa Cruz

Sanitized surf boards and wetsuits were provided. Participants met at 38th Ave. beach, AKA 38th stairs.
Feel free to reach out to BSCSC if you would feel more comfortable with a 1×1 surf lesson at 
blacksurfclubsc@gmail.com.

November 28th: #StayingHome4TheHolidays with Tammi Brown

Tammi Brown and guitarist Dylan Rose play feel-good music for you to groove to at home.

December 5th:

Nutrition In the Time of COVID with Jocelyn Dubin, MS, RD

We’ve all heard the stats. Black folks are more likely to contract COVID-19. We are also 2.3 times more likely to succumb to the disease than White folks. Rather than live in fear, we can use the power of our plates to boost our immunity. In this nutrition presentation, registered dietitian Jocelyn Dubin will teach you how to incorporate specific foods and beverages in your meals and snacks to boost your body’s defenses and decrease the risk of contracting COVID-19. By the end of this nutrition video, you will know how to eat for empowerment! This workshop will be held via Zoom through the button below! Everyone is welcome to attend this class

December 12th:
Vocal Sound Healing and Meditation with Sarah Cruse

Sarah Cruse hosted a 45 minute Vocal Sound Healing and Meditation, with 15 minutes at the end for sharing and a Q&A, geared for all genders, and anyone old enough to sit still.

December 12th:
Soca/Zumba with Eugenia Rice

No experience necessary, open to all ages.

Eugenia Rice is a dance instructor and she hails from the beautiful island of Barbados, British West Indies. In this Soca/Zumba session, Eugenia will teach you the different rhythms featured around the Caribbean and the rest of the globe. This class is guaranteed to make you, dance, laugh, sweat, and leave you with a feeling of love and contentment, despite this COVID-19 and adverse times.

December 19th:
Virtual Holiday Kick-Off!

The Holiday season is in full swing and Winter Break is right around the corner! Join us for our virtual BHM Holiday Kick-Off and enjoy a stellar line up of performances. From dance, gospel, a moment of meditation and music sets, to the DJ dance after party - this lineup is 🙌🏾

We know this season of celebration is going to look different for all as we stay home and distance in our collective efforts to flatten the curve. We hope this event will keep us connected and bring your family JOY as you do so!

photos by: Kevin Pinchaud/LookoutSC

May 26th:
Commemorating George Floyd

The Santa Cruz County Chapter of the NAACP and the Santa Cruz County Black Coalition for Justice & Racial Equity invite the community to join a peaceful, socially distanced gathering to mark the 1-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police. The community gathering will be held Tuesday, May 25, 2021, 6:30 pm at the steps of the Santa Cruz Courthouse, 701 Ocean St., Santa Cruz. This event will feature speakers, spoken word, dance, music, and poetry. For additional information, call (831) 429-2266 or send an email to santacruznaacp@gmail.com

When visiting Evergreen Cemetery, traditional Congolese dancer, Vivien Bassouamina and community healer, Luna Leo, were pulled and inspired by the story of London Nelson. Called to find out more about those buried at Evergreen, in their research they learned there are multiple Black people are buried in the plot surrounding London. For the third commission of Beyond the Grave, these artists have decided to honor these ancestors with traditional funerary practices through interactive storytelling and dance.

This event was created and funded in part by the Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center (TWDCC), as it supports their Black Health Matters Initiative and Diaspora Performance Project.TWDCC facilitates a working home for the professional world & contemporary dance artists while providing dance education that is committed to access, equity, and excellence. Black Health Matters is a community initiative that promotes equity through a network of community trust, advocacy, and collaboration to improve the quality of life for black residents in Santa Cruz County. Diaspora Performance Project gives professional support to 5 selected cultural artists. This program seeks to support the thriving community of artists of the African Diaspora and provide opportunities for the development of new work, a deep and meaningful connection to our community, and performance opportunity.

Juneteenth is a special day for anyone who believes in freedom and equality for all people. Join us for music, poetry, dance, delicious soul food, arts & crafts, basketball skills contest, and the annual sack race!

This year's theme is LIBERATION!

July 18th:
SCC Black Health Matters X NIN: Garden of Eden

Negus In Nature and SCBHMI will be working to provide safe and fun experiences for those to enjoy nature comfortably. 


Healing with Horses
Learning Horse History + Dinner/Campire Real Talk Discussion

Aniko Millan says:

“What incredible power we feel when we lay a hand upon the muscled neck of these great beasts…yet it is our strength that these gentle giants seek to calm their naturally fearful minds and racing hearts. Horses are used in therapy for the truly cerebral connection that they can make with us when we present an open heart and mind for them to feel safe. This 55 million year old species now domesticated for 5000 years, the HORSE thrives with both tender love and clear direction from us or otherwise be scarred for life or leave scars without meaning to. Don’t be intimidated by them. Be there for them and they will reciprocate. By watching, listening, teaching and leading the horse, we find the very same calm, harmony and peace that they ask of us. Come and enjoy the magical healing HORSE.”

 

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