The Men’s Blue Suit Awareness Weekend, a faith-based health awareness campaign founded in 2007 by Baltimore NAACP President Marvin “Doc” Cheatham, has become a tradition at churches, mosques and other religious institutions throughout the metropolitan area.
The initiative aims to raise awareness and services related to men’s health in Baltimore, a city where men are more likely to die of preventable illnesses like cancer, diabetes, HIV and heart disease. According to the Baltimore City Health Department, men in Baltimore are less likely to have access to a doctor and at least one-third of adult males ages 18-65 have no health insurance.
To acknowledge the health crisis facing many of the city’s men, Blue Suit Awareness Weekend encourages members of the community to wear blue suits at their places of worship. If participants do not own a blue suit, they are encouraged to wear any blue item of clothing during the weekend-long event. In addition, each participating faith center receives a Blue Suit Toolkit including resources to community health agencies, screenings and additional health-related products. According to Cheatham, over 250 synagogues, mosques and churches signed on as participating in 2009.
The Men’s Blue Suit Health Awareness Weekend takes place Sep.10-12 at various places in Baltimore. Visit naacpbaltimore.org.