Black History Month Events on UNCP's Campus
Tired of Being Black, Sick and Tired Event
Dr. Toney Graham III, who specializes in internal medicine addressed students, was special guest for the event, "Tired of Being Black, Sick and Tired," as a part of NAACP week. He discussed three key components in health: mental, drug abuse and overall physical health.
“Healthcare and taking care of your health has to be universal,” Graham said when discussing about why healthcare is important to each person.
The Meharry Medical College graduate said that he took over a family practice after graduating because the art of medicine drove him to want to learn more about it.
When discussing mental health, Graham said it starts with the young generation, explaining that the prime age for the beginning stages of mental health is between 18-22 years old.
“Mental health is a big thing in the young generation, and it stems from a place of mistrust,” he said. “As simple as drinking alcohol, people think it’s a quick fix, it’s not."
Graham said to the students and staff that if they see the signs of mental health in their friends, make sure they are comfortable to talk about it.
“Pay attention to your peers and get them the help they need,” he said.
Graham explained that drug prescription and medications is all about business, most importantly making money at the end of the day.
He said that binge drinking is a form of drug abuse, as a person drinks more they are building tolerance.
“If I continue to pour and drink until I go black something’s wrong,” he said. “The fact that you planned to get drunk is almost just as bad to a person who randomly did it.”
On the topic of overall physical health, Graham emphasized getting yearly check-ups from a doctor.
“Getting your blood pressure checked will tell you first hand if something is wrong,” he said.
Not getting your blood pressure checked will lead to symptoms that won’t appear until later in life. Graham explained that 70 percent of people don’t know that their blood pressure is high.
Graham’s grandmother had inherited a bad gene to which affected her cholesterol and blood pressure, but the key to her living an extra 10 years was exercise.
“Back in those times, my grandmother didn’t have the technology and the advanced research we have today, so her only way to continue to offset the bad gene was to exercise around a dirt track and reduce the amount of sweets she was eating,” he said.
At the end of the presentation, Graham said the major component to great health is a person’s mindset and lifestyle.
“A healthy lifestyle is consisted of eating healthy, exercise, and maintaining low stress levels.” he said.
Open Mic Night
The NAACP and Inkwell held an open mic night on Feb. 15 in honor of Black History Month, which allowed students to express themselves through song, poetry and rhymes.
“I think it’s a very nice empowering event for African Americans in honor of Black History month,” said freshman Daria Parker.
Students shared their writings about love, home, women’s strength and struggles they have experienced. This gave UNCP students the opportunity to see how talented their fellow peers were.
One speaker wrote a poem about memories they had as a child stating, “death it comes, and it goes but this is one of my childhood memories.”
Some students also shared what they learned in the classroom such as theatrical writing and expressive tones.
Junior Brian Pridgen shared an touching experience about surviving a party with gunplay that moved the audience.