Nominate Someone For The Kuwasi Balagoon Awards

The inaugural award celebrates people living with HIV/AIDS

As part of AIDS Awareness Month in December, Black & Pink National will be honoring New Afrikan anarchist Kuwasi Balagoon with 10 honorees who are living with HIV/AIDS. The award is meant to celebrate them in their successes in life, however small or large they might seem. Maintaining health, taking medication regularly, moving into a new apartment or meeting another goal is something to be celebrated and Black & Pink National want your nominations!

This year's 10 honorees will receive an award, a monetary affirmation, celebration in a newsletter and an invitation to an awards event. Nominations of loved ones living both inside and outside prison walls can be made up until October 10. Video submissions may be sent to

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Supporting Mental Health

Share your strategies in the chat.

Many experts agree that we're facing a mental health crisis. Between overuse of technology, social media, the political climate (and alarming actual climate change) and a global pandemic, it would be weird if people weren't feeling some anxiety. This means we need to really focus on our mental health more than ever.

September is Self-Care Awareness Month and The Pathway 2 Success has a great post about supporting student mental health during these times. And while most of us know a lot of ways to support our own mental well-being, actual execution is another matter. Having a partner to remind one another or a counselor to discuss how to best support your mental health can be helpful for many people.

How do you meet your own mental wellness needs? Share your strategies in the chat.

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New Study on Folate

What do you think?

According to the Mayo Clinic, using folic acid supplements to fight cognitive decline and different types of dementia may or may not be helpful. Various studies have proven to be inconclusive, though some suggest that folate could be helpful. Blood levels with low folic acid content are often found in people suffering from poor cognitive performance but causation and correlation are two different things. More research needs to be conducted before we know anything for sure. 

A new study in Frontiers of Neuroscience suggests that the link may be solid, and that eating more folate may help prevent dementia. Lentils, edamame, asparagus, spinach and black beans are all high in the nutrient, making them good sources for people who want to increase their daily intake. Supplements could also be helpful but foods are better absorbed by the body. A single half-cup of cooked spinach provides a third of one's daily folate needs, for example.

What do you think of the study? Do you get enough folate in your diet already? Share your thoughts and folate tips in the chat.

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HIV Vaccine in Development by Moderna

Testing is about to commence on the vaccine

Moderna is being admired as a hero by many after the company's vaccine provided life-saving Coronavirus prevention for millions of people, and now the company has announced that they're ready to start trials on an HIV vaccine. This development is an amazing accomplishment. Hopefully the trials are successful and the company is able to prevent yet another life-threatening illness.

The incredible thing is that it's the mRNA technology used to develop the Covid vaccine that may make an HIV vaccine possible. Two vaccines have been developed, and if they're successful, who knows how many other breakthroughs we could see soon?

What other incredible science news have you read this week? Share it in the chat.

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The Best Mental Telehealth Services

Share what's helped you most in the chat

Between the social distancing needs during the pandemic and a mental health crisis quite possibly unlike anything we've ever seen before affecting everyone from kids to workers, America's need for mental telehealth services has never been more imminent. Mental health has never been taken as seriously as it needs to be in this country, and it's not even limited to the kinds of cases that make the news. Everyone could use some support every now and then.

Luckily more mental telehealth services are popping up around the country. Helplines exist nationally for parents, people with mental illness, people considering suicide and assualt survivors. There are warmlines for anyone to call in a given region. Helplines designed to serve marginalized communities in local areas, such as LGBTQIA folks, are also popping up. This is likely going to be a continuing trend as more and more people need support.

What mental telehealth services have you used or heard about? Share the best resources you've found in the chat.

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Petition to Stop Variant Spread

Will you sign?

While the United States has a plethora of vaccines and we need more people to get them, poor countries who want them have a shortage that we could definitely help with. Big Pharma monopolies are at the heart of the crisis, some of which are even raising their prices to render vaccines cost-prohibitive to nations that desperately need vaccines.

Jeff Zients is in charge of the Covid response and can change this. Biden said that there would be a temporary waiver of WTO intellectual property rights to help vaccine production but the waiver, along with the promise of speeding up production for these nations, haven't happened. It's time to make them a reality and stop the spread worldwide.

Sign this petition to tell Zients and the rest of the team to make vaccines available worldwide and be sure to share any other actions you know of to help stop the spread in the chat.

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Worst Health Ranking

All high-income countries beat the U.S. in health

While Americans are often eager to declare ourselves number one, sadly our nation comes in last, or near last, in several important areas. One of those is healthcare. Among high-income countries, America ranks last in terms of healthcare. This rating factors in access, equity and outcomes regarding healthcare for citizens, which makes this report even sadder to read.

Only 11 nations surveyed didn't have universal healthcare, including the United States. Americans often skip care or become bankrupt due to medical costs, which also impact this score. Even high-income Americans were likely to report healthcare costs as barriers.

What is the most surprising area in which the U.S. is typically ranked last to you? Share your thoughts in the chat.

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Share Your Why

Why do you mask up?

In a state like mine where far fewer than half the population is getting vaccinated, it's just as important as ever to mask up and protect yourselves and your fellow neighbors. Back when I got vaccinated I remember feeling such a relief--until the CDC announced that you could go mask-free if you got the vaccine. I knew most people in my state were already not listening to mask orders, so why would that change anything? The sudden feeling of almost-okayness evaporated with the order lifts.

Now that Americans are proving they aren't willing to mask up and we're being asked to wear them again, I would love to know if you never stopped wearing one. Share why you made that decision and why it's so important to you. For me, it's not only because I have chronic illnesses as do many of my loved ones, but it's also because I think it's the right thing to do. When your country is facing something so terrible, you pitch in. That's what patriotism is. It's not flying a flag or rallying behind a political figure but protecting each other like a community should do. It continues to boggle my mind that the majority of people where I live, who consider themselves such strong patriots, don't share this view.

How about you? What's your "why"? Share it in the chat. If it's helped anyone else get vaccinated or wear a mask, share that experience, too.

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Lower Drug Prices

Tell Congress The Time Is Now

It's 2021 and we still don't have universal healthcare in the United States. President Biden just issued an executive order to help lower drug prices, but as we've seen so far, these executive orders don't always accomplish what they sound like they're supposed to accomplish. We really need to push for universal healthcare, but we also need to try to push for every inch we can get along the way.

Take prescription drugs. One way we can help lower costs is to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. This will help lower the price for people across the board and help stop manufacturers from charging exorbitant amounts of money for prescription drugs. You can sign here to tell your members of Congress just that.

How else can we combat these costs? Share what's happening where you live in the chat.

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Advice From TikTok

Be sure to check sources!

TikTok can be a wonderful place of comedy and camaraderie, and I'm no stranger to finding solace and fun there in this Time of Corona. (I live in Missouri; my Time of Corona is indefinite.) However, there are lots of people there trying to make a buck giving all kinds of advice that you just shouldn't follow. From mental health topics to actual medical advice, some of it is even dangerous.

Just as you (hopefully) would with any meme you share or anything you read online, you need to look up any kinds of tips you pick up on TikTok before implementing them. I made the mistake of trusting a gardening tip--you would think that would be a safe one!--only for it to harm my plants! So please take a moment and research anything you watch before using it in your life.

Are there any verified doctors or therapists you follow on the app for sound advice? How about cooks, trainers and other people who help you stay healthy? Share their accounts in the chat.

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