Angela Amar was the keynote speaker at the New England Regional Black Nurses Association (NERBNA) “Excellence in Nursing Celebration” dinner on February 6, 2010. The event honored nurses in the black community who have demonstrated excellence in their professions. Amar, associate professor at the Connell School of Nursing, spoke of hope for the future of healthcare in the black community.
Amar’s keynote address, entitled “Hope, Promise, and Possibility,” kicked off the event to celebrate excellence in nursing. Just two days before the Superbowl, Amar touched on the remarkable rebirth and renewal in her hometown of New Orleans during the last five years. Home to the New Orleans Saints, the Superdome was a symbol of hopelessness in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Now, the Saints are Superbowl champions, and the Superdome has been transformed into a symbol of hope and promise. Connecting this hopefulness to New England, Amar spoke about the positive work being done by the award recipients to address the problems faced by people of color in the Boston area, including higher rates of poverty and unemployment, poorer educational testing scores, and health disparities. She stressed that “the award winners are making a difference. They dream of hope, feel the promise, and see the possibilities” for advances in the black community. “I challenge everyone to use your talents and make a difference,” said Amar.
NERBNA is a subsidiary of the National Black Nurses Association, whose mission is to “provide a forum for collective action by African American nurses to investigate, define and determine what the health care needs of African Americans are and to implement change to make available to African Americans and other minorities health care commensurate with that of the larger society.” NERBNA takes this mission locally to the New England region and serves as a counseling, education, protection, and support mechanism for nurses in the black community.