By: Jana’e Smith, Contributing Writer—
On February 23rd at 12:00 p.m., student activities held a wellness workshop on zoom, discussing and promoting healthy relationships in the black community for black history month.
The workshop was hosted by Professor Kimmeshia Roger-Jones with an approximate total of six or more students in attendance.
Professor Roger-Jones hosted this event with the hopes to discuss and help give meaning to what is a healthy relationship, as well as connect it to the black community.
Professor Roger-Jones interacted with her audience by asking them questions and engaging them in a discussion. She then expressed her thoughts on their answers.
The discussion wasn’t solely focused on romantic relationships, but relationships of all kinds such as familial, platonic relationships too.
In addition, Professor Roger-Jones listed some examples of what officially defines a healthy relationship:
¨ Open Communication
¨ Putting forth effort.
She also gave her own additional examples such as “Less Drama, more positive ways to resolve conflict, and embracing our differences.”
After that, Professor Roger-Jones briefly shared some research she did on the subject on the history of relationships within the black community. She stated that during the time of slavery, it was illegal for black slaves to be married, and back then many marriages between black couples was done in secret.
In those times, slaves were forced to mate with someone for the purpose of procreation. Slave owners made a profit by selling the children of their slaves.
Many black families in those times were torn apart due to the slave trade, and problems would continue to persist even after slavery.
Professor Roger-Jones expressed that the black people of the past, understood the importance of family and relationships even though it was forbidden. She then emphasized how having a support system gives people better opportunities for success.
Furthermore, Professor Roger-Jones brought up a statistic she found regarding this topic and stated that as of 2019, 66% of black children are raised in single-parent homes. She stated that this is a huge decline from the 1960s, which was 33%, the decline beginning sometime around 1988 where the numbers were roughly between 48-60%.
Next, Professor Roger-Jones asked several questions to her audience:
Is family as important in the black community as it was 20 years ago?
Some students believed it still was, while others thought it was more difficult to maintain or create family bonds due to the rising costs of living.
What is the most important component to having a healthy relationship?
The responses from students were:
¨ The ability to feel safe and vulnerable.
¨ Trust & Honesty
¨ Establishing, and respecting boundaries without pushing one’s limits when they’re not ready.
¨ Being able to agree and disagree.
When it comes to relationships between black and brown people, how does the media promote it?
Many felt the media promoted a negative version of relationships between black and brown people.
Is black love a fad or is it long lasting? Should we make it long lasting?
One student didn’t believe it was a fad, merely appeared to be a fad. But felt the media made black love seem more negative when black love is no different from any other community.
Another student had mixed opinions, believed it can be achieved but some people don’t truly embrace or understand the meaning of black love.
How can we make black love into a long-lasting thing?
Many believed it required leading by example and teaching positive relationship habits to nurture its growth.
By the end of the workshop, Professor Roger-Jones, expressed a hope that those who attend would pass on positivity onto their neighborhoods and community.
To leave the session as agents of healthy relationships. A goal that everyone should strive to achieve.