Taraji P. Henson Hosts Zoom Event To Address Mental Health Impact Of Education

By Steve McLean 6/18/21 | www.samaritanmag.com

Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation (BLHF) is holding a one-hour live event hosted by its founder, actress Taraji P. Henson, as part of a public awareness campaign to address the mental health impact of the education system on students — particularly Black students.

Henson had a recurring role on Empire for five years, and was previcously a regular on Person of Interest. She was also in films Hidden Figures and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She founded BLHF in 2018,  named in honour of her father. It was created because the Academy Award and Emmy-nominated actress had suffered mental health challenges without resources or support, and she didn’t want others to go through the same experience.

“A Write to Education” will be sponsored and hosted by Zoom, with donations powered by Pledge, on June 24 at 7 p.m. ET. Its goal is to educate people about the resources that BLHF has developed to support the mental health of Black students and families, and to raise funds to continue offering services that include free therapy, resource materials, training for educators, and after-school hangouts for students, parents and teachers.

“A Write to Education” will feature a live moderated discussion between Henson and actress and producer Yara Shahidi and “Hip Hop Therapy” with Common and Maimouna Youssef (Mumu Fresh), who will share how creating music can be a healthy tool for young people and adults to express themselves.

Those interested in attending can register here. Attendees of the virtual event will be able to support BLHF and "The Unspoken Curriculum" through a live donation feed using Pledge’s platform.

"The Unspoken Curriculum," a six-week campaign developed with communications firm Edelman, was developed to combat mental health distress among Black youth, parents, teachers and administrators while advocating for meaningful change in the classroom.

"Over the past 6 weeks, we’ve built powerful momentum behind ‘The Unspoken Curriculum' and its aim to create space to talk about the Black student experience, break the stigma that comes with talking about these real issues, and improve access to solutions," Henson said in a media release.

"The Unspoken Curriculum" began during Mental Health Awareness Month in May with a video of a spoken-word poem highlighting how the life lessons students learn about race in school aren’t always in the lesson plan, but they can be carried with them into adulthood.

People interested in learning more about BLHF and its programs, and those who want to make a donation, can text UNSPOKEN to 707070 and visit the “The Unspoken Curriculum” web page.

Zoom Cares, Zoom’s philanthropic initiative, will match participants’ donations through Pledge up to the fundraising goal of $250,000.

“We know that COVID-19 has exacerbated many of the already existing disparities and challenges facing young people of color when it comes to accessing support for mental health,” Zoom head of social impact Roxana Shirkhoda said in the release.

“We are honored to work with the BLH Foundation and their ‘Unspoken Curriculum’ campaign to turn an unprecedented education and health care gap into an opportunity.”


* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.