Black History Month

Black History Month ""

February 2022: Black Health and Wellness

This year the national theme for Black History Month is Black Health and Wellness, which examines and acknowledges the work of Black scholars and medical practitioners to better understand what has been done and what is currently being done to counter the grave deficiencies in healthcare for Black people and the stark discrepancies between the treatment of Black people and other groups in America. As part of FIT’s Black History Month activities, we will present research and other work of faculty and staff that is relevant to this topic. Programming on the theme will come from within our own community and will be presented virtually during the month of February 2022.

Programming may range from panel discussions and interviews to exhibitions of art, literature, and poetry to research material and white papers—any medium that allows us to come together as a college community to discuss, better understand, remember, and celebrate Black Health and Wellness and its impact on our culture and society.

Most of FIT's Black History Month programming is for the FIT community only. Individual events that are open to the public are noted below.  After some programs have aired, they will be available on-demand and posted here. 

INSTRUCTIONS: To access the FIT-only events, please enter your FIT login (without @fitnyc.edu) and password. 
You may need to type in your new password if it autofills with your old password. 

ACCESS FIT-ONLY EVENTS 

Keynote Address

Available On Demand

Julia Iyasere, MD, Executive Director headshot

Julia Iyasere, MD, Executive Director at Dalio Center for Health Justice at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Prior to the keynote address will be the Black National Anthem and greetings from Dr. Joyce F. Brown, President of the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Introduction of keynote presenter by Dr. Ron Milon, FIT Chief Diversity Officer

Dr. Iyasere's keynote address, will focus on the longstanding health disparities due to race, socio-economic differences, limited access to care, and other complex factors that impact the well being of communities of color disproportionately.

View Julia Iyasere Video

Ongoing Through February 

Black Futures Virtual Exhibition curated by Joi Berry, AHMP '23.  

Related Events

PANEL DISCUSSION: NEW CURATING—JUSTICE, MUSEUMS, AND THE POWER OF THE GRAND NARRATIVE

Wednesday, February 23, 4 pm
Alexander Nagel, Joi Berry

VIDEO: The creation of the new protective medical clothing for African American nurses

February 8–28

This video presents some of the great achievements of the African American medical professionals in the history of the U.S. Fashion Business Management faculty members Jennifer Lee and Mark Higden created the new protective medical clothing designs and illustrations inspired by Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, Mary Eliza Mahoney, and Frances Reed Elliot Davis. The 3D virtual/physical garments' images, inspiration photos, and illustration work in the video shed light on the exertion and heroism of the African American medical professionals. 

EXHIBITION: The reinterpretation of protective medical clothing designs—inspired by the history of African American medical professionals in the U.S

February 9–28
Feldman Center Lobby

Black History Month - Nurses uniforms

This exhibition presents some of the greatest achievements of the African American medical pioneers in the history of the U.S. Fashion Business Management professors Jennifer Lee and Mark Higden created the new protective medical clothing designs and illustrations inspired by Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, Mary Eliza Mahoney, and Frances Reed Elliot Davis. The 3D virtual/physical garments' images, inspiration photos, and illustration work in the exhibition will shed light on the unremitting exertion and heroism of the African American medical pioneers.

EXHIBITION: The Soul of Frank T. Fraley: Health and Wellness Through the Power of Gems, Jewels, and Stones

February 9–March 7
Art and Design Gallery, Pomerantz Center Lobby

Beaded necklaces and bracelets made with minerals and crystals that promote health and wellness are on view. Curated by Frank T. Fraley

EXHIBITION: Caring Quotes

February 9–28
Business and Liberal Arts Center, Sixth Floor (across from the dean's office)

Utilizing embroidery on Aida cloth several inspiring quotes related to health and wellness by prominent Black figures will be framed and displayed. Curated by Yuniya (Yuni) Kawamura, PhD

Cooked movie posterMOVIE SCREENING:
COOKED: SURVIVAL BY ZIP CODE 

Monday, February 7, noon–1:30 pm   (also screening on Feb. 11)
Dubinsky Dining Hall 

In July 1995, a heat wave overtook Chicago: high humidity and a layer of heat-retaining pollution drove the heat index up to more than 126 degrees. City roads buckled, rails warped, electric grids failed, thousands became ill and people began to die—by the hundreds. Cooked tells the story of this heat wave, the most traumatic in U.S. history, in which 739 Chicago citizens died in a single week, most of them poor, elderly, and African American. Peabody award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand explores this drama that, when peeled away, reveals the less newsworthy but long-term crisis of pernicious poverty, economic, and social isolation and racism. Cooked is a story about life, death, and the politics of crisis in an American city. 

Dr. Julia Iyasere

BLACK HISTORY MONTH OPENING PROGRAM AND KEYNOTE ADDRESS

February 9, 11 am–noon

  • Black National Anthem
  • Greetings from Dr. Joyce F. Brown, President of the Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Introduction of keynote speaker by Dr. Ron Milon, FIT Chief Diversity Officer
  • Julia Iyasere, MD, Executive Director, Dalio Center for Health Justice at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Dr. Iyasere's keynote address will focus on the longstanding health disparities due to race, socio-economic differences, limited access to care, and other complex factors that impact the well being of communities of color disproportionately.

MOVIE SCREENING: COOKED: SURVIVAL BY ZIP CODE 

Friday, February 11, noon–1:30 pm  (also screening on Feb. 7)
Dubinsky Dining Hall 

In July 1995, a heat wave overtook Chicago: high humidity and a layer of heat-retaining pollution drove the heat index up to more than 126 degrees. City roads buckled, rails warped, electric grids failed, thousands became ill and people began to die—by the hundreds. Cooked tells the story of this heat wave, the most traumatic in U.S. history, in which 739 Chicago citizens died in a single week, most of them poor, elderly, and African American. Peabody award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand explores this drama that, when peeled away, reveals the less newsworthy but long-term crisis of pernicious poverty, economic, and social isolation and racism. Cooked is a story about life, death, and the politics of crisis in an American city. 

HEALTH AND WELLNESS CONVERSATION

Monday, February 14, 1–2 pm
Dr. Ron Milon and Aubrey Brown

Health and wellness goes beyond body image and physical appearance. Our conversations about healthy living must also include how we manage self-care. Keeping our bodies and minds active is important not only for our physical health but also for our mental health.

Billy Gerard Frank

COMMEMORATING THE TRIANGULAR SLAVE TRADE: BILLY GERARD FRANK VENICE BIENNALE 2022

Tuesday, February 15, 5:30–7 pm
UCE of FIT

In recognition of Black History Month, the UCE of FIT holds a virtual talk with multimedia artist Billy Gerard Frank. At this talk, he will discuss his work for the forthcoming 2022 Venice Biennale.

This virtual event is free and open to the public; join via Webex on the date and time of the event.

FINANCIAL HEALTH & WELLNESS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY

Monday, February 21, 7 pm

Host Matt McCoy and guest Jana B. Woodhouse, Anaj Enterprises, Inc., President & Founder

Matt McCoy Matt McCoy is the founder and CEO of Soul City Social Broadcast Network, launched in 2016. With 30+ professional years devoted to entertainment production, artist development, restaurant branding, and marketing consultancy.

Jana B. Woodhouse is widely recognized as one of the country’s top financial advisors. She was one of the first women on Wall Street to serve as a broker, a role that she maintained for 18 years. She has more than 33 years of experience in areas that include stocks and bond investment, 401K & retirement planning and strategizing, college education planning, creation of family trusts, accounting, and life & health insurance investments. Ms. Woodhouse is a sought after speaker who dedicates her time to educating urban communities about financial literacy and the practices of financial wellness.

Sponsored by the Office of Educational Opportunities Program

View Financial Health & Wellness

PANEL DISCUSSION: NEW CURATING—JUSTICE, MUSEUMS, AND THE POWER OF THE GRAND NARRATIVE

Wednesday, February 23, 4 pm
Alexander Nagel, Joi Berry

A 45-minute panel discussion featuring guest speaker Tsione Wolde-Michael, curator of African American Social Justice History at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and director of the Center for Restorative History (CRH) at the Smithsonian Institution. Wolde-Michael will be in a conversation with Dr. Alexander Nagel, chair of the Art History and Museum Professions program at FIT. Observing the World Day of Social Justice on Sunday, February 20, this event will highlight initiatives, trends in curating African American heritage in museums in 2022.

About the speaker: Wolde-Michael was a major contributor to the groundbreaking new African American museum in Washington, curating the successful first exhibition Slavery to Freedom and more recently the exhibition Reckoning with Remembrance on Emmett Till (1941–1955) at the National Museum of American History in 2021. She has been directing the Smithsonian’s new Center for Restorative History (CRH) since summer 2021. She has written for the Washington Post and other influential papers.

Sponsored through a Black Futures at FIT Diversity Grant

Register for New Curating

MAAFA READING/DEDICATION AND VISUALS OF THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE

Wednesday, February 23, 7pm
Taur Orange

Maafa—the Kiswahili word for "calamity" or "catastrophe"—is the term used for the African holocaust of 10 million slaves who were killed in the transatlantic slave trade in America. Please join us for a virtual commemoration to honor those who lost their lives.

View Maafa Reading 

MUSIC AS A HEALING FORCE

Thursday, February 24, 1 pm

Student Dining Hall (pre-recorded video)

OEOP will present a 60-minute compilation of pre-recorded songs by various artists that reflect historical genres of music generated and embraced by African Americans as sources of healing. Opening recorded remarks will be by OEOP director, Taur Orange. The genres will include Negro spirituals, blues, hip hop, and gospel.

Sponsored by the Office of Educational Opportunities Program

MOVIE SCREENING AND PANEL DISCUSSION: BLACK MEN IN WHITE COATS

Thursday, February 24, 4 pm
Paul Melton

poster for Black Men in White Coats

Fewer black men applied to medical school in 2014 than in 1978 and black men have the lowest life expectancy in the United States. With only 2% of American doctors being black men, this comes as no surprise. This documentary dissects the systemic barriers preventing black men from becoming medical doctors and the consequences on society at large. 

Health care accounts for nearly 20% of the United State’s GDP and a significant portion of that is driven by disparities in a system that lacks diverse physicians. What if we had a medical workforce that actually reflected our patient population?

Panelists:

Micah Autry, the film’s director and owner of AUME Motion Arts LLC, received a BAAS in Radio, Television, and Film and a minor in Computer Education from the University of North Texas. Autry has also had film projects featured in festivals like The Denton Black Film Festival, The Baltimore International Black Film Festival, The Capital City Film Festival, and South by Southwest.

Dr. Meghan Kirksey, MD, PhD. Is a board certified anesthesiologist who joined the Hospital for Special Surgery after completing specialty training in anesthesiology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and subspecialty training in critical care medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.  Her clinical expertise is in the management of cardiopulmonary sequelae of acute and chronic disease.

THE HISTORY AND LEGACY OF ILLNESS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY: EAT TO LIVE!

Friday, February 25,  Noon 

Host Matt McCoy and guest Dr. Jewel Pookrum, MD, Ph.D, MFS

Matt McCoy Matt McCoy is the founder and CEO of Soul City Social Broadcast Network, launched in 2016. With 30+ professional years devoted to entertainment production, artist development, restaurant branding, and marketing consultancy. Mat spent nearly eight years developing a broadcast platform that could, as he says “reduce the walls between industries and underrepresented brands and give shouting power to ideas and perspectives that need to be heard.” Soul City has become that platform. As a podcast platform, it hosts trendsetting topics and presenters and interacts with listeners and fans. Now broadcasting into millions of homes, Soul City gives life to creativity in marketing strategies that lift up people, products and ideas above the competition. Matt’s in-depth understanding of the urban market sets Matt McCoy and Soul City apart from others.

Dr. Jewel Pookrum Dr. Jewel Pookrum is a noted author, lecturer, health naturalist and retired physician of obstetrics and gynecology. She is a pioneer in wholistic™ medicine with a strong emphasis on healing through mental, spiritual and physical wellness. She previously served as the director of the Woodrow Wilson Clinic for Women’s Health at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI. Dr. Jewel also has the distinction of having served former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, as their consulting physician during their 1990 visit to the United States.

Sponsored by the Office of Educational Opportunities Program

View History and Legacy of Illness

A PRACTICE OF SOULFUL MEDITATION

Friday, February 25, 1 pm

Host Taur Orange with guest Rev. Nafisa Sharriff, ETHOH, Founder, CEO

Reverend Nafisa Sharriff is a noted meditation master, ordained interfaith minister and teacher of spiritual tools for transformation, including reiki. Her studies have taken her to Egypt and India and to many American and European communities. She also is a long-time dancer of traditional West African Malian empire folk dances and a choreographer for theater productions. Her credits for theater choreography include the Obie Award winning play, “Blown Sideways Through Life”, “Spiritual Journey” (Apollo/EST) and “A Joyful Noise” starring Whitney Houston, Cissy Houston and Leon Thomas. She has appeared on PBS and performed as a featured soloist for Stevie Wonder’s “Characters” tour during the ‘70’s. Rev. Nafisa is devoted to teaching others how to recreate their lives in Love through meditation and other tools!

Sponsored by the Office of Educational Opportunities Program

BLACK HISTORY MONTH GROUP PHOTO

Monday, February 28, 5 pm 
Dubinsky Student Center, 8th Floor

Members of the FIT community who identify with African heritage are invited to participate in a group photo event. The photo is open to all FIT faculty, staff, and students. Masks are required.