Celebrate This Year’s Black History Month With VAHA: Black Health and Wellness

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A Message Carmen Laguer Diaz and Lauren Thomas, Co-chairs of the Valencia African Heritage Association 

Join the Valencia African Heritage Association (VAHA) in celebrating Black History Month 2022 with this year’s national theme of “Black Health and Wellness.”

The national celebration of Black History Month was established by Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH, Inc.) in 1926. At a local and national level, we continue to honor the significant impacts, struggles and triumphs of the larger African American community and African diaspora that have impacted the development of the social, political and economic structures in American history. Throughout February, we will observe Black History Month with various events that are open to all, and available on campus, on Zoom, as well as through live streams.

Thanks to the Harry J. and E. Mary Hobbs Teaching Chair in Nursing endowment, we were able to create the VAHA Presents: The Black Health & Wellness Initiative project. During the spring semester, starting with Black History Month, we conduct special learning experiences for Valencia students, employees and community partners that highlight issues that are faced by the Black community and are influential to mental and physical health: VAHAxTalks, VAHA Book Discussions, VAHAxHidden Figures and a special-themed Black Music Month (#musicsaves).

Our team, composed of Diane Reed, professor, nursing; Fontella Jones, counselor; Nardia Cumberbatch, librarian; Adrienne Mathews, professor, political science; Tarteashia Harris, professor, economics; Danielle Strong-Robinson Smith, professor, English; Coleen Cox, professor, nursing; Melvin Middleton, director, dual enrollment; Angela Hall, librarian; Larry Herndon, professor, student life skills; and Marcia Roman, counselor; hope to provide safe spaces for students, employees and community partners who have an interest in African diaspora culture and education on health/wellness-related issues impacting the Black community. In addition, as part of the initiative, we plan to offer more than $14,000 in scholarship money to Valencia students.

Stay tuned for more information on event dates and student scholarship opportunities.

VAHA’s mission is to celebrate and foster inclusion of cultural and educational awareness of the African diaspora at Valencia College, as well as build inclusivity of the social and political interests and concerns of faculty, staff and students of African diaspora collegewide and in the community. VAHA has campus- and regional-based committees to promote its mission and observances of African-diaspora heritage, culture and diversity.

Employees interested in learning more about their work and how they can get involved are invited to email infovaha@valenciacollege.edu.

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