Black History Month Community Event February 2023
Submitted by Peloton
At Peloton, Black History Month is an especially important moment for us to come together as a community to uplift Black heritage. We celebrate and explore the transformational influence of Black communities, and make space for the reflection and action required to become an anti-racist organization and society.
On February 15th, 2023, we were honored to host and invite our team members and Member community to participate in a panel discussion exploring the intersection of anti-racism and mental wellness. The panel featured speakers from our valued Peloton Pledge partner, the Center for Antiracist Research of Boston University, and was moderated by Peloton Instructor Tunde Oyeneyin.
The Center’s mission is to build an antiracist society that ensures racial equity and social justice. Joining Tunde in conversation were the Director and Founder of the Center and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi; Policy Office Chair and Professor at Boston University (BU) School of Law, Professor Jasmine Gonzales Rose; and Narrative Office Chair and Professor of Community Health Sciences at BU School of Public Health, Dr. Monica Wang.
A spotlight on mental health
Much of the conversation centered on insights gleaned from the Center research study Peloton supported in 2022, titled: “Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) activism and organizing as a mental health intervention for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) youth”.
The study aimed to identify effective ways to promote mental health among BIPOC youth and approaches to empower them through political education and organizing.
“So much research is about understanding risk factors and negative consequences. This research team wanted to ask, what is positive…what can build resilience?” – Dr. Monica Wang, Narrative Office Chair at The Center for Antiracist Research and Professor of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health
Participants in the study identified as 72% Black – the remainder LatinX and Asian – 43% as LGBTQIA+ – and the primary age range was 14 to 19.
As part of the research, BIPOC youth were brought together to talk openly about politics, activism, and health. These political education sessions revealed that when young people of color come together to talk about these topics, they feel more equipped to handle both system-level and personal challenges.
Following the study, participants identified as:
At Peloton, we have always believed in the generative power of social connection and community. And the study’s findings showed just that – for young people of color, connecting with supportive peers, positive mentors, and being part of a larger community is key to improving their physical and mental wellbeing.
Healing as a foundation from which to build an anti-racist society
Expanding upon the findings from the research, the Center’s experts provided many of their own compelling insights, including Dr. Kendi’s views on the power and process of healing, and why it will be instrumental in building an anti-racist society.
From his perspective, healing society means building a world where no one is without housing or lives with food insecurity. It is a world where everyone is safe from race-based persecution and where all ethnicities, cultures, skin colors, and hair textures are celebrated. It is a kinder society in which we understand, respect, and appreciate one another.
Yes, getting there means “smashing the glass ceiling” – and that can leave scars – but it also creates opportunities to pull up those who come after us. Scars can be permanent, but so can the power of positive change. It might be hard and require the courage to act, but the end result is a better, more empathetic world.
"Courage is so important for healing.” – Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director and Founder of The Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University
But as we do the work to undo systems of oppression and their effects, the panel made clear how essential it is to hold space for oneself. Dr. Wang discussed the importance of self-nurturing, and how something as simple as a morning workout can help us become better at tackling each day, and empowers us to be the best we can be because we’ve taken care of our needs.
She also shared empowering words from author Nic Stone that she draws on for inspiration: “we can do hard things and live softly.”
Taking it to the leaderboard
In true Peloton style, we took this message (and our partners) to the leaderboard. That evening, Tunde led Center staff members, the Black@Peloton employee resource group, and Members of the Peloton #BlackGirlMagic group on a live ride at Peloton Studios New York. Check out the 30 minute BHM Hip Hop Ride here.
Peloton remains honored to partner with the Center for Antiracist Research and support their life-changing work. Looking ahead, we are energized by the opportunity to continue bringing conversations like this to our communities and teams. Support from our Members and partners is what makes this possible. Thank you for being a part of the transformation and positive change.
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