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Written by: LaKala Williams
YLC Coordinator
She / Her / Hers

As Black History Month unfolds, it offers an opportunity to reflect on the intersectionality of race and sexual health, especially through the lens of a Black woman, in the sexual health field. I am called to bring light to and explore the contributions and challenges of pioneering Black women, who altered the course of history, against seemingly impossible odds. Their courage, tenacity, and contributions in the face of adversity have paved the way for future generations to continue the fight for equality and empowerment.

Historically, Black voices have been marginalized and hushed in discussions regarding sexual health. From the legacy of reproductive coercion during slavery to the ongoing disparities in healthcare access and outcomes, the Black community has faced systemic barriers that impact our sexual well-being.

From the fearless leaders of the Civil Rights Movement to the trailblazers of today, Black women have been blazing trails and breaking barriers since day one. Navigating these challenges can be daunting, but it also fuels my determination to drive change and empower my community. We refuse to be silenced or sidelined and we’re not afraid to speak to truth to power.

For me, sexual health means reclaiming ownership of my body and my narrative. It means advocating for equitable healthcare access, combating stereotypes and stigmas surrounding Black sexuality, and demanding justice for those who have been marginalized and silenced. Sexual health is a cornerstone of liberation and self-determination for Black Women. It is about reclaiming our power and agency in a world that too often seeks to diminish and control us. And that, my friends, is something worth fighting for.

But let’s be honest, the work isn’t always easy. We’re up against centuries of systemic racism, sexism, and all-around nonsense. But you know what? We’re resilient and we won’t back down until every person – regardless of race, gender, or background – can access the care and support they need to live their happiest and healthiest lives.

As a Black woman working in sexual health, I am proud to stand on the shoulders of those before me, honoring their legacy by advocating for comprehensive sex education, accessible healthcare, and the dismantling of systemic barriers that affect marginalized communities.

So, what can you do to join the movement? Educate yourself, actively listen and amplify Black voices, acknowledge the unique experiences faced, and celebrate the beauty and diversity of Black individuals. Whatever you do, just show up.

To my Black friends, take care of yourselves. To the rest of the world, take care of Black folk. Together, let’s continue the journey toward a more equitable and inclusive world, with passion, purpose, and a whole lot of joy.

Happy Black History Month.

LaKala Williams

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