Writer Audre Lorde once said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” 

Self-care is not just indulging in our personal pleasures but it is also an examination of our spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental health to ensure that we are operating at optimal levels. Without a daily self-care regimen, Black women will not be able to live their best lives and become their best selves. Therefore, self-care, especially for Black women is a comprehensive caretaking of the heart and soul.

Studies have shown that nearly 80% of Black adults who are diagnosed with high blood pressure don’t have it under control. Because Black women are 40% more likely to have hypertension than their white women, this often leads to premature death and poor heart health that goes untreated.

To address self-care and heart health in a holistic manner that’s tailored specifically for Black women, EBONY partnered with Release the Pressure on RTP Homecoming from the Heart—featuring EBONY CEO Michele Ghee and the Release the Pressure Coalition—and livestreamed the event, from the Morehouse School of Medicine, on Saturday, Oct. 16th. Moderated by Stephanie Johnson, Vice President of Communications and Product Strategies at the American Medical Association (AMA), the event gave pertinent information about preventative measures for heart health, educational tools to assist in monitoring wellness, the importance of acknowledging high blood pressure and taking the next steps, and much more.

Along with Michele Ghee, presenters included Dr. Tabia Henry Akintobi, Ph.D., MD, Associate Dean, Community Engagement, Morehouse School of Medicine, The Breakfast Club co-host Angela Yee, Founder and CEO of the DeTox Now, Coach Gessie & Former Pittsburgh Steeler and CEO of Alkeme Health, Ryan Mundy, Dr. Jessica Henderson Boyd, MD, President & CEO, Unity Healthcare, and others.

The Release the Pressure (RTP) campaign brings together a diverse coalition of healthcare organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), AMA Foundation, American Heart Association, Association of Black Cardiologists, Minority Health Institute, and National Medical Association—informally known as the RTP heart health squad. The vision of the RTP is to build alliances across the spectrum of the medical field and to partner with Black communities to reverse the detrimental effect of chronic diseases.

Ghee spoke about why it’s extremely critical for Black women to prioritize their well-being by putting time aside for daily practices.

“I put it on my calendar to exercise,“ said Ghee. “I exercise my mind by reading. I exercise my body by being physical. If we don’t schedule those things, they’re not going to happen because Black women give to everybody. We give to our community, our jobs, our kids, our families, and if we’re not well, how can they be the best they can be?” 

If you missed the event yesterday, don't worry you catch it below: