This West African icon is symbolic of Help & Support. "As you give, you shall receive"
You'll be seeing this icon as we share our new African American Myeloma Initiative with the theme "I am My Brother's Keeper."
As the icon represents help and support, the overarching sentiment and theme of this initiative hinges on these principles with the goal of building a strong myeloma community TOGETHER.
Each person is a valued piece of the puzzle as we COLLECTIVELY work towards better outcomes and equity for African American patients in the diagnosis of myeloma and continuing throughout treatment, including clinical trials.
The relevant message that must be communicated to every person reassures that: you are not alone – we are in this together – lean on us - we have your back!
This theme is inspired by African American culture where common practices that are valued by Blacks include sharing, caring, helping, lifting and praying for others in our circles. It is also part of the Kwanzaa principle "Ujima" with means Collective Work & Responsibility. This means building and maintaining our community together to make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
As this community grows, we will focus on addressing our problems and our concerns together as we raise awareness and education of myeloma. Our annual “My Brother’s Keeper” campaign will serve as one of the flagship programs.
We invite you to share these messages as word of mouth is one of the most effective tools to reach others in the African American Community. Ensuring that relevant information is reaching the Black communities is critical to the health and well-being of all. HealthTree will host an online campaign with three touch points during the year that have a focus on keeping Blacks informed:
Black History Month (February 2022)
Black History Month is an annual celebration of Black history and achievements, but also a time to call attention to ways of supporting Black communities and providing resources and education regarding issues that affect the communities, including health issues that are prevalent for African Americans.
Juneteenth Celebrations (June 2022)
In celebration of Freedom Day and Black culture, African Americans will organize events across the country and will have the opportunity to share myeloma information with many who take part and attend. It is a day of reflection and focusing on Black achievements, health issues that significantly affect this population and equality overall, including disparities in healthcare.
Kwanzaa Celebrations (December 2022)
The third day of Kwanza, December 28th, is a day of Ujima - Collective Work and Responsibility. As this principle is celebrated, issues surrounding the health and well-being of African Americans can be highlighted and solutions can be discussed.
How You Can Help
Because multiple myeloma IS a problem for Black brothers and sisters, we encourage you to:
- Share the articles that will be shared during these three times of year on your social media and with your friends
- Pass out HealthTree brochures that will be prepared for African American friends and organizations
- Help identify organizers of African American celebrations (local and national) to share messages and brochures with their community
Each myeloma patient and caregiver in the African American community holds a valuable and unique piece of the puzzle. TOGETHER we can complete this puzzle which will result in a cohesive, comprehensive series of stories that can be shared to help everyone. We can learn from each other, which in turn, we pray will enhance the health and well-being of us all. This is our responsibility because we truly are our brother’s keeper.
about the author
Marsha Calloway-Campbell - Marsha is a caregiver to her husband who has multiple myeloma. Although a lawyer and consultant, Marsha finds time to work with the myeloma community all while enjoying time with her husband, 3 adult daughters and young grandson. She’s passionate about helping and empowering others.