Afro-Latina Visual Artist Reyna Noriega Pays Tribute to Black Nurses

Reyna Noriega BELatina Latinx
Image courtesy of BELatina/Instagram.

Gone, it seems, are the days when we would dedicate at least 30 minutes of applause from our windows to the doctors and healthcare workers who worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two years later, life is back to normal, but the effort and courage of those people remain intact in our memories.

Moreover, we will never forget the lessons of this dark episode.

Millions of deaths and an unequal and fractured healthcare system have shown us the depth of social inequities.

According to the Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at George Washington University, people of color have worse outcomes and lower life expectancy than their white counterparts. The underrepresentation of Blacks, browns, and Native Americans among many health professions — including those requiring an advanced degree — contributes to these health disparities, Forbes explained.

But Afro-Latina visual artist Reyna Noriega doesn’t want us to forget this reality and has set to work to pay tribute to Black nurses in the country.

As reported by The Root, Noriega wanted to find a way to show her appreciation to the nurses who have sacrificed so much, including her own grandmother, who was a nurse. So the Afro-Latina artist is using her talents and has partnered with BAND-AID to design a series of personalized “Thank You Cards” honoring Black nurses.

“It was important to me and BAND-AID that these designs pay homage to the healing and care that Black nurses have been providing us during these unprecedented times. We wanted these cards to highlight their resiliency while celebrating and uplifting them for all they provide to patients every day,” Noriega said.

Since May 9, BAND-AID and Reyna Noriega have unveiled the card designs, coinciding with National Nurses Week.

In an Instagram post, BAND-AID also announced a grant to the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) to help alleviate costs for expenses such as child care and utilities.

NBNA will select grant recipients from among nurses who submit an application form by June 10, 2022. These initiatives are carried out by BAND-AID OURTONE, the company’s line of adhesive bandages that complement darker skin tones.

It’s no wonder Reyna Noriega felt called to pay tribute to those who put themselves on the front line for us.

Born and raised in Miami, the 28-year-old artist focuses her work on personal reflection and the quest to become the best version of herself.

As her website explains, Noriega’s creative work has focused on women of color. As an Afro-Caribbean Latina, she has seen firsthand how detrimental it can be not to see positive representation. Her goal is to fill the world with vibrant and joyful representations of marginalized peoples.