Black History Month is a time to celebrate influential leaders and impactful moments of the past. But celebrating Black history is not enough.
United Way continues to work toward a future where Black Americans have increased access to employment, education, health care and housing.
As part of that work, below we highlight an important moment from Black history that aligns with our focus areas of health, education and financial stability, outline a few current challenges faced by Black Americans, and explain what United Way is doing to help.
Moment in History | July 9, 1893: Dr. Daniel Hale Williams performs the first successful open-heart surgery at the black-owned, interracial hospital he founded in Chicago. Both Dr. Williams and his patient were Black.
But since Dr. Williams’ groundbreaking work, health outcomes for the Black population are still significantly worse than for whites.
United Way believes that an individual’s race, ZIP code, or income should never be a barrier to quality health. We work to address health inequity by:
Moment in History | April 23, 1951: 16-year-old Barbara Rose Johns leads a strike to protest segregation and poor conditions at her Virgina high school. Her leadership inspires local lawyers to sue the federal government, a case that eventually becomes part of the landmark Brown v. Board decision.
The Supreme Court ruled school segregation was unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education. But segregation in public schools has only risen since 1996. This kind of structural racism along with institutional racism has hurt the educational outcomes of Blacks students.
United Way fights to shift the odds for students of color and those in low-income areas. Our work includes:
Moment in History | May 12, 1968: Thousands of Black women, led by Coretta Scott King, begin the first demonstrations in the Poor People’s Campaign. After building Resurrection City on the National Mall, they stayed in temporary shacks for over a month in a fight for jobs, unemployment insurance and a higher minimum wage.
Decades of segregation, discrimination and low wages have impacted the financial stability of Black families in the U.S. Since 1992, the racial wealth gap has grown.
United Way battles chronic unemployment, homelessness and financial illiteracy; issues which disproportionately affect Black Americans. Our ongoing work includes:
You can be a part of this important work in Palm Beach County. Sign up for our newsletter below to learn how you can give or volunteer to ensure that every single person can thrive in our community.