Mia Smith-Bynum
June 23, 2020

Mia Smith-Bynum, an associate professor of family science at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, participated in a virtual Anti-Racism Teach-In on Tuesday, June 11. The event was the first in a series of upcoming virtual teach-in events featuring UMD School of Public Health faculty, among other UMD experts, and hosted by the UMD Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The June 11 event focused on how the UMD community might contemplate and adopt anti-racist practices. The panelists provided definitions of key concepts and presented ways for the UMD campus, faculty, staff, students and community members to practice anti-racism.

Dr. Smith-Bynum presented on the “Dilemma of Black Parenting” touching on how Black parents constantly wrestle with the fear and pain of racism against themselves and their children. 

She explained that this racism is “built in the walls,” and it is easy for Black children to internalize negative narratives. Dr. Smith-Bynum maintained that to protect the self-esteem and positive sense of self of Black children, parents must celebrate Black history and accomplishments. She urges parents to tell their children, “you come from a people who have overcome tremendous odds. You can succeed despite how others try to define you or your possibilities.”

A clinical psychologist by training, Dr. Smith-Bynum is an expert in African American mental health, family interaction/communication in ethnic minority families, parenting and racial identity. She, along with UMD School of Public health faculty members Craig S. Fryer, Jennifer Roberts, Cher M. Dallal, Typhanye V. Dyer and James Butler III, is a part of the Agents of Change, a group of Black public health scholars who study health disparities through a social justice lens. The Agents of Change recently published the opinion editorial, “Too Many Names, Too Many Hashtags: The Killing of Unarmed Black People is a Public Health Pandemic.”

Additional panelists included Drs. Carlton E. Green ( UMD Office of Diversity and Inclusion), Roger Worthington (UMD Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education/College of Education), Janelle Wong (UMD College of Arts and Humanities) and Cindy Stevens (Smith School of Business/Undergraduate Studies). 

See a list of upcoming events from the University of Maryland Office of Diversity and Inclusion at go.umd.edu/UMDSolidarity.

Watch a recording of the June 11 Anti-Racism Teach-in:

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Mia Smith-Bynum