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Black His­to­ry Month Cel­e­bra­tion — Inspi­ra­tional Black Leaders

James Forten

Our staff member shares the inspiring story of James Forten, an abolitionist and wealthy business man from Philadelphia

In hon­or of Black His­to­ry Month, we asked our staff to share influ­en­tial Black lead­ers who have made an impact on their lives and their work. Includ­ed here are just a few of the Black inno­va­tors who have been impor­tant to our team, and a reminder to con­tin­ue this focus on advo­ca­cy and equi­ty all year long.

James Forten

James Forten (Sep­tem­ber 2, 1766 – March 4, 1842) to me is an inspi­ra­tion. The fact that he was a suc­cess­ful Black and wealthy busi­ness­man in the late 18th cen­tu­ry is inspi­ra­tion enough, but I am also inspired by the fact that he used his sta­tus to help free Black people.”

Michelle Oba­ma

Michelle Obama

Our staff member shares their source inspiration, activist and former First Lady - Michelle Obama

Michelle Oba­ma is pure class. She approached her work dur­ing Barack Oba­ma’s pres­i­den­cy not only with hon­esty and high val­ues, she made peo­ple believe they can achieve any­thing as long as you put in hard work. She is an advo­cate for wom­en’s rights and believes women should feel good about them­selves. She was the cre­ator of the Let’s Move” ini­tia­tive to bat­tle child­hood obe­si­ty. Every­thing she has done in life was due to hard work and deter­mi­na­tion.
Michelle is the typ­i­cal mom who strug­gles with every day par­ent­ing chal­lenges just like the rest of the pop­u­la­tion. Her famous quote around the world is, When they go low, we go high”. How inspir­ing is that for younger generation!?”

Dr. E. Kitch Childs

E kitch childs

Grace Hong-Duffin, our CEO, shares her inspiration drawn from the work of Dr. E. Kitch Childs

I want to cel­e­brate and hon­or this life-long activist and her focus on fem­i­nist ther­a­py, anti-racism, and LGBTQ+ advo­ca­cy. She was one of the founders of the Asso­ci­a­tion for Women in Psy­chol­o­gy, has been induct­ed into the Chica­go LGBT Hall of Fame, and was the first Black woman to earn a doc­tor­ate degree in Human Devel­op­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go in 1972. She helped to lead the move­ment to dis­man­tle the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric Association’s inclu­sion of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty as a psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­or­der from the Diag­nos­tic and Sta­tis­ti­cal Man­u­al of Men­tal Dis­or­ders the fol­low­ing year. And on top of all of that, she served the Unit­ed States Navy with dis­tinc­tion. Dr. Childs died in 1993, but in her short 55 years of life, she packed her days cham­pi­oning equi­ty, com­pas­sion, and com­mu­ni­ty. So much of her work ties direct­ly to the work we do at KYC and we wouldn’t be able to do our work with­out the impact she made in her life­time. I am tru­ly in awe.”

Dr. Bev­er­ly Greene

Greene

Our staff member shares the inspirational work of Dr. Beverly Greene, an early thought-leader of intersectional psychology

I’d like to rec­og­nize Dr. Bev­er­ly Greene, who wrote the famous and impor­tant arti­cle When the Ther­a­pist is White and the Patient is Black: Con­sid­er­a­tions for Psy­chother­a­py in the Fem­i­nist Het­ero­sex­u­al and Les­bian Com­mu­ni­ties.” Dr. Greene helped cre­ate the study of inter­sec­tion­al psy­chol­o­gy to com­bat the inequal­i­ties she was see­ing at that time when some patients weren’t get­ting the same care as oth­ers. She earned the Dis­tin­guished Pub­li­ca­tion Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion for Women in Psy­chol­o­gy in 2008.

I am inspired that her work helped clin­i­cians be more thought­ful when treat­ing patients of dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties, and avoid allow­ing het­ero­sex­ism, sex­ism, and racism to influ­ence any deci­sions. Greene’s work taught peo­ple how dif­fer­ent parts of a person’s iden­ti­ty shape every aspect of their life, includ­ing men­tal health.”

Dr. Hope Landrine

Landrine

Our staff member shares how Dr. Hope Landrine's work shed light on inequities using data and statistics

Dr. Hope Lan­drine stud­ied health psy­chol­o­gy and pub­lic health. Her work inspires me, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing the pop­u­la­tions we serve at KYC. In 1992, she pub­lished her research on the impact of many social inequities that can influ­ence mak­ing a diag­no­sis and cat­e­go­riz­ing psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders, The Pol­i­tics of Madness”. 

Dr. Lan­drine’s work was very impor­tant and should be rec­og­nized because it was some of the first real sci­en­tif­ic data that showed that stereo­types of women, peo­ple liv­ing in pover­ty, and eth­nic minori­ties were like­ly result­ing in bad diag­noses and con­tribut­ing even more to the inequities the patient already had to deal with. This inspires me to remem­ber that the work we do changes lives and can help com­bat inequities when successful.”

Went­worth Cheswell

Wentworth

Our staff member shares the inspiring story of Wentworth Cheswell (April 11, 1746 – March 8, 1817), a Revolutionary War hero

Went­worth Cheswell lived in New Hamp­shire dur­ing the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. He was the first black judge elect­ed in 1768, and for forty-nine years he served his coun­try in some form of pub­lic office.

When the British famous­ly first began to occu­py cities in Amer­i­ca, Went­worth actu­al­ly did the same types of rides at the same time as Paul Revere, but no one knows about it. Went­worth’s con­tri­bu­tions to this coun­try are inspir­ing and should be cel­e­brat­ed in schools and his­to­ry books. This is an incred­i­ble illus­tra­tion of how we white wash history.”

More Than Just One Month

As Feb­ru­ary and Black His­to­ry Month come to a close, efforts to advo­cate for equi­ty and to lift up Black com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, lead­ers, con­trib­u­tors, and cre­ators will not end on the 28th.

We encour­age the KYC Com­mu­ni­ty to join us in seek­ing out addi­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties to con­tin­ue cel­e­brat­ing con­tri­bu­tions of Black Amer­i­cans all year long. 

Togeth­er We Thrive.


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