Change happens when inspired people take action. It is clear that the time for change is upon us. People in our communities, our state and nation are no longer willing to tolerate the racism that unfortunately permeates our society. We are among them.
The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin cares deeply about equity for all. It is who we are, personally and professionally. The people we serve are among the most vulnerable: those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, their families, and caregivers. Included are those at the highest risk of the disease, African Americans. We strive to meet the needs of all who seek our services, wherever they are on their journey.
To fully meet the needs of African American people living with dementia, we are asking ourselves what we can do to be part of the solution at this monumental time in history. We have joined the public outcry and will continue to speak out against racism. We will also vigorously walk the talk in how we approach our daily lives and responsibilities here at the Alliance.
One of our major endeavors, which we have the honor to assist in organizing each year, is the Solomon Carter Fuller Brain Health Day. Under the leadership of Barbara McKinney, ADA W Diversity Coordinator, and the African-American Community Advisory Board, and in partnership with the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at UW, we hold this annual event which builds awareness of Alzheimer’s in the African-American community.
The day recognizes Solomon Carter Fuller, an African American who was the grandson of former Virginia slaves. He received medical degrees in pathology and psychiatry in the United States, and, in 1904, traveled to Munich, Germany to work with psychiatrist Dr. Alois Alzheimer. Upon returning to the United States, Dr. Fuller published some of the first papers in English on “presenile dementia,” which would later be referred to as Alzheimer’s disease. He was a pioneer in Alzheimer’s disease research. We celebrate Dr. Fuller for his significant contribution to furthering the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and are committed to building on his groundbreaking work.
As we move forward, expect us to do more as we reach out to our entire community to ensure that we are inclusive, fair, and just in all we do. We must all work together to overcome the systemic racism that exists in our society. We cannot have a sustainable society without equity for African Americans and all people of color.
Thank you for your support of the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin.
The ADAW Staff and Board of Directors