WASHINGTON – Every year, FEMA honors and recognizes the many contributions African Americans make to the agency and our nation.
This year, FEMA is commemorating National Black History Month with a series of events that will reflect the month’s theme: “Black Health and Wellness.” Throughout the month, the agency will also feature African American employees on the FEMA.gov banner and on the agency’s social media channels to help highlight their contributions to our agency.
“For too long, African American communities have endured the burden of health disparities, as evidenced by the current pandemic,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “This year’s National Black History Month highlights the importance of black health and wellness and is a reminder that we can only be a more prepared and resilient nation when all communities are healthy and strong.”
This year’s “Black Health and Wellness” theme is especially timely as our nation continues to struggle with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This month serves as an opportunity to reflect on not only physical, but also mental and emotional health, how many communities have remained resilient in the face of healthcare inequities, and how cultural and ancestral traditions have informed our understanding of wellness.
“The 2022 Black History Month theme of Black Health and Wellness pays tribute to the many contributions of African American health care professionals serving our communities,” said FEMA Deputy Administrator Erik Hooks. “This timely focus highlights the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on African Americans, and other wellness and mental health issues which continue challenging our nation. As we celebrate the achievements of African Americans this February, I encourage us to take action to protect our families and loved ones now and in the future.”
As FEMA continues working with federal, state, and local partners, territories and tribal nations in the fight against COVID-19 and other disasters, emergency managers are keenly aware that many communities remain impacted by disparities in access to healthcare services and initiatives. The agency remains committed to focusing on how FEMA can continue to ensure equity for all.
FEMA’s African American Employee Resource Group, in collaboration with the FEMA Chapter of Blacks in Government and the agency’s Office of Equal Rights, is hosting a series of virtual events for FEMA employees throughout February, including “FEMA Real Talk: A Black Men’s Health Roundtable” focused on men’s health, as well as FEMA’s Black History special observance event on black health and wellness, featuring health care practitioners focused on physical, mental and emotional issues within the African American community.