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The Matriarchs of the Holidays Can Worry Less this Year

By Paula Penebaker and
Josephine McNeal

This is the time of year for grand family gatherings. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and when the aromas of the big turkey dinner have faded, mothers and families will begin preparations for the grand Christmas celebration.

Black moms account for many roles, sometimes therapists, motivators of males in the household, natural textured hair stylists, teachers, and more. When it comes to the holidays, they also become professional chefs, family gatherers and entertainers.

No one, especially moms and grandmoms, the great matriarchs of Black families far and wide, wants the gaiety of the holiday season to be overshadowed by COVID-19. We’ve learned so much over the last year and fortunately, more Black people have had vaccine(s). And while it would be even greater if more had gotten them, now is not the time for nagging.

People have grown weary of hearing about the virus. The incessant warnings, the issue of whether to wear/not wear masks, when to isolate, and even the hospitalizations and deaths have taken their toll. The good news this season is some young people may come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks ready to be protectors instead of spreaders.


Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have joined forces with the We Can Do This Campaign’s Stay Well Community Health Fairs on campuses like Grambling State and Texas Southern. An event is planned Dec. 3 at the SWAC Championship located at Jackson State University. As a result of the events many young people will leave for home to enjoy the holidays having had at least one vaccination. They will be protectors of their moms, grandmas, aunties and all the other Black women that hold half the sky. Dads and granddads will appreciate the protection too!

Every person in the country age 6 months or older—in every community, in every corner of America—is eligible to get vaccinated.

If you think you’d like to be vaccinated before the holidays and enter the New Year having protected yourself and your loved ones from serious illness, visit

Josephine McNeal is a public relations specialist at CMRignite, and Paula Pene -baker is a writer at CMRignite, a strategic marketing agency and a partner of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services We Can Do This COVID-19 Public Education Campaign.

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