The Well-Being for the People Series is a new initiative that centers the unique well-being needs of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color. Our kick-off event was a collaboration between Mason and George Washington University to host a book club featuring author Dr. Rheeda Walker and her book The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health. We were joined by hip-hop artist Benny Starr to discuss challenges and strategies for Black mental health with the author. Students from both universities were placed in pods and are having ongoing discussions about this important topic.
We also hosted a BIPOC solidarity space for students of color to discuss the impact of this year’s presidential election on their well-being. In an election year filled with division and stress, we wanted to offer a space for BIPOC students to process their experiences and heal in the context of community support.
There are three more events for this academic year. The next event is Well-Being for Activists, a panel discussion aimed at acknowledging activist burnout and providing a space for community support. The event will be rooted in well-being practices, including time for mindfulness, poetry, and other expressions of care as we make space for our student-activists to share about their work, their challenges, and their strategies for taking care of themselves. We hope to build a community of student-activists at Mason that will benefit from their shared interests, goals, and experiences. The event is scheduled for February 4, 2021, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Registration details will be posted here as soon as they’re available.
Next, we are hosting Well-Being for the People: Physical Well-Being for BIPOC Bodies. This event, scheduled for February 22-24, 2021, will consist of several events centering the importance of taking care of our bodies in myriad ways. Our special guest will be a representative from GirlTrek, a national health movement that has inspired thousands of Black women across the country to influence their lives and communities through walking. Other events will include workshops on body positivity, yoga, breathing techniques, and dance, all lead by BIPOC leaders. Finally, we will host a meditative walk to remember Ahmaud Arbery. Registration details will be posted here as soon as they’re available.
Our last event of the academic year will on BIPOC Spirituality. This event will highlight the important role of spirituality in the lives of people of color. Spirituality, or being connected to something greater than oneself, directly contributes to thriving in college for students of color. We want to empower our students to connect to this greater meaning and purpose in life. This event is scheduled for April 2021, with more details to come.
The Well-Being for the People Series is not your average well-being initiative. We are dedicated to centering BIPOC needs and resources. If you identify as a person of color, we welcome you into these spaces that are intended to acknowledge and support your unique well-being.
Please check this page regularly for more upcoming events to be posted. Sign up for our listserv at WBP-L@listserv.gmu.edu to be notified of upcoming events.