Executive Director's February 2024 Message

Executive Director writing a message

It’s important to recognize and appreciate the contributions of African Americans all year long. But in February, we set aside a special time to celebrate their legacy and honor their impact for Black History Month. This year’s theme is African American and the Arts.” African Americans have a long history of capturing their history, rich heritage and culture, and activism through the arts. Many celebrations, shows, and activities are happening throughout the Bay Area.

Taking time to slow down and appreciate the arts can help you reduce stress, which is good for heart health and is in tune with American Heart Health Month in February. There’s a reason why every doctor’s visit starts with taking your blood pressure, which is a key measure of heart health that can lead to early treatment. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans each year. You can improve your heart health by eating healthier, preventing diabetes, staying active, and talking to and spending time with friends and family when stressed. I like to combine staying active and spending time with loved ones.

We are fortunate to have various events in San Francisco where we can practice self-care, celebrate, and learn about the diverse cultures of the residents that make up our great city of San Francisco. Where else can you participate in innovative collaborations and events like the California Academy of Sciences Black History Month NightLife, Black Thursday, learn about African-American writers and artists through the San Francisco Public Library’s More Than a Month collection and programs, and ring in the Lunar New Year of the Wood Dragon at the biggest parade celebrating Chinese New Year outside of Asia?

When it comes to celebrations and parades, no city does it better than San Francisco. Yes, I am clearly biased, but our local parades are undeniably world-renowned. San Francisco was the first to host a Chinese New Year parade by combining the Chinese traditions of celebrating the Lunar New Year, such as the dragon dance, firecrackers, and lantern festival, with the American tradition of a parade. This year’s San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade will occur on Saturday, February 24.

I wish you all a heart-healthy month filled with appreciation for African American art, their history of significant contributions, and good fortune and health in the Lunar New Year of the Dragon.

Be well,

Abbie Yant, RN, MA