Advocacy is central to our Student Senate and we’d like to take some time to acknowledge some of the observances during the month of February. Here are just some of the ways in which we can begin to create awareness and advocacy during this month as well as learn about resources that are available.
Black Heritage (Black History) Month
Since 1976, during February we take a moment to recognize and celebrate the achievements Black people continuously make towards our society. We also recognize February as African American History Month. Every year, the president delegates a theme to February regarding Black Heritage Month and the achievements of Black people. In 1915, historian Carter G. Woodson with the help of Jesse E. Moorland worked together and founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The organization was devoted to the research and promotion of achievements made by both Black Americans and others of African descent.
Now, we know ASNLH as ASALH, the Association of the Study of African American Life and History. This group created National Negro Week in 1926 and chose the second week of February for a unique reason. Both President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays fall within this week and the recognition on ASALH’s part serves as a tribute to their work towards social justice. President Lincoln led the United States through the American Civil War to preserve the union and abolish slavery while Federick Douglass actively worked to abolish slavery both before and after the civil war, pushing for human rights equality until his death.
By the 1960s, our nation’s awareness of Black and African American identities steadily increased.
As aforementioned, each year a theme is given by the Presidents’ office, and this year the theme is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity”.
This poem is devoted to Black History Month titled Hey, Black Child
The Marcus Garvey Cultural Center will be hosting various hybrid and virtual programs all through February in celebration of Black Heritage Month.
Warning: Please be aware that the below awareness recognition may be difficult to read. If you are needing support, please call the Counseling Center at 970-351-2496.
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Week
Sexual Abuse and Violence is something that should not be taken lightly. The first week of February, the 1st to the 7th, is a time to recognize the victims that report, but also those who do not, in the fear of being judged. Unfortunately, there is a huge stigma around victims of Sexual Violence and this needs to change.
It is important to recognize that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 38 men have been victims of either completed or attempted rape. For both of these groups, 25% of cases happened when they were under the age of 17. Victims of sexual violence experience traumatic impacts to their mental health. It can also result in pregnancy and physical health problems.
It is discussed that Sexual Violence can be prevented in some ways through the education of students, families, and others within the community. However, it is important to recognize that some people may not be able to recall the events that occurred or realize that they were a victim of Sexual Violence, until after the fact.
Advocating for yourself and others who may be victims of Sexual Violence, whether you are a victim or not, creates a stronger sense of belonging and pushes more people to share their stories.
The Student Health Center, here at UNC, provides Sexual Assault Resources for our students.
Time to Talk Day
Thursday, February 4th, is Time to Talk day. The first Time to Talk Day was in 2014, and has continued to make a positive impact. This is a day to talk about mental health and help change the lives of those surrounding us. We spend this day encouraging people to be more open about mental health. We know that COVID has created an everlasting impact on our mental health, whether it be small or big. However, a small conversation can create a huge perpetual difference. This month, I want to challenge you all to talk, to listen, and to change lives. Tell someone you’re proud of them, or that you like their shoes! It can make all the difference in the world.
Due to COVID, we can’t have that in person interaction as much as we desire. So, instead, I challenge you to text, Facetime, or set up a Zoom meeting with someone to check in with each other.
As we all know, there is a stigma around mental health, but with conversations, we can break down those barriers. The barriers of feeling worthless, isolated, and helpless. There are a lot of different components that go into mental health. One in four people are affected by Mental Health issues and it’s important to recognize that not talking about how we are feeling, can be one of the worst parts of the illness.
This year, the Time to Talk campaign, is using “would you rather” questions to spark conversation.
Tinnitus Awareness Week
Tinnitus Awareness Week, takes place during the first week of February, the 1st through the 7th. For those of you who don’t know what Tinnitus is, it is extreme noise in the ears and affects about twenty percent of the population. While this may not seem like a lot, it’s one in five people who are going to be affected, and when we think about it this way, it changes our viewpoint. Tinnitus is not a condition itself, it’s a symptom of another condition. These other conditions might be hearing loss, age, injury, circulatory disorder or something else not listed here.
For each person, Tinnitus is different. This means that each person may perceive the noises differently. Some people hear ringing, which is most commonly used to describe tinnitus. However, others may hear buzzing, clicking, humming, or other noises.
Common symptoms of Tinnitus, besides the ringing, includes light-headedness, or feeling like you are going to pass out, and feeling an increase in your heart rate.
When Tinnitus is diagnosed, a number of things are done such as a Hearing Test, CT Scan, MRI, Blood Test and a Physical Examination. All of these are done in an attempt to understand more about the case of Tinnitus the patient has, and to figure out what underlying conditions may be present.
Tinnitus has been around for a long time. When the Ancient Egyptians first discovered it, they called it the “bewitched ear and humming in the ear.” In an attempt to “fix” the condition, they mixed different ingredients and a reed stalk. The first true treatment was created by Early Greco-Romans. They would clean the ear until blood was draining from it. They believed that this cured the ringing.
When we got to the Middle Ages, when medicine was becoming more well known, a number of different methods were used. They would pour liquids, crackle a fire, and use candle wax to clean out the ear.
In the present world of today, there is still no known cure, but we have ways to contain the ringing and help those who are affected by it manage their ringing. We still have a long way to go, but it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of yourself and others.
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