How the Black Panther Party Revolutionized Public Health Education

black panther party poster
Via Flickr
Adé Hennis
February 1, 2024

Equipped with weapons and all the tools they needed to fight against Black oppression, the Black Panthers were prepared to take on the biggest challenges facing our people. And one tool has had an everlasting impact on Black health.

The sickle cell screening program was a lesson in community health that has never left me. It was more than just a service—it was an organizing tool. Panthers across the country launched sickle cell campaigns against a disease that disproportionately affects us. It not only helped educate people but also brought us together.

Thousands of Black people would be screened for sickle cell trait, but the campaign didn’t stop there. The Panthers would buy out sections of newspapers and even appear on television shows to raise awareness and provide educational insight into the disease. The Party would strive to reach our people in person, in print, and over the airwaves.

The Panthers didn’t just bring awareness with their campaign, they also brought people together, and till this day, medical professionals who were involved in the campaign knew the positive impact it had on Black communities.

The Panthers built a foundation of structure and education for our people that helped us come together and become collectively smarter about sickle cell. We can continue to unify and educate one another on the racial disparities that we battle in health and in our everyday life.

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