Black History Month: Black lives always matter

”We must never forget that Black History is American History.” —Yvette Clarke 

February is Black History Month.

As the events of the past months have urgently reminded us, Black experience in America has throughout history, and continues to be, characterized by widespread and systematic discrimination, trauma, and violence. It is not mentally healthy for any of us to ignore the persisting inequities which sicken our body politic.

At the same time, we need to reflect gratefully about all that we owe to Black history for the health and strength of our communities and nation. Fortunately for us all, Black experience in America is also characterized by some of human history’s most stunning demonstrations of tenacious well-being, and of our ability to survive, thrive, shine, love, and even forgive. 

This year the Association for the Study of African American Life and History has chosen a theme for Black History Month which illustrates these qualities perfectly—The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. For our wellbeing this month, we can make it our practice to think about how much we owe to Black families of all kinds.

We can study and learn from the strength and love evident in Black experience. Let’s fully appreciate and recognize the brilliance of Black lives that enrich every aspect of our existence. Let’s have brave and confident conversations about our racial history and about the future of well-being we are building together.

To achieve healthier minds across the lifespan for all Coloradans, we need to do these things with purpose and open minds, so that we may learn more about ourselves and dismantle the systemic inequities that make us so much less than we can be.


Vincent Atchity
President & CEO
Mental Health Colorado