Happy Black History Month!
This month we honor and recognize our black citizens, community members, family, and friends, though we should be celebrating black people every damn day! Black History Month originated in 1915, 50 years after the thirteenth amendment abolished slavery, via history.com.
In 1926 the event was celebrated on the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, which in turn inspired schools and communities across the nation to host local celebrations. It wasn’t until 1976 that President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, “calling upon the public to ‘seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.’”1
2020 was a wake up call for all2. The deeply embedded systemic racism in our society can not be denied. It is violent, terrifying, archaic, and needs to end NOW. Even in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others that should be here with us today, these heinous crimes continue. Please, please, don’t go back to sleep. Please continue (or start!) to do the work of fighting racism, of building a society that can live in genuine unity. It’s not enough to say “I’m not racist”, or to think it does not affect you. You have to stand up for what’s right. People of color deserve for those of us with skin privilege to stand up and speak out against injustice.
There are countless ways to get involved. NAACP membership is only $35 / year and shares a wealth of information and actionable steps. ACLU membership is however much you want to give and funds extensive litigation, communications, and public education programs. There are local organizations with which you can become involved with for free, and following these groups on social media will keep you up to date on current events as well as opportunities where you could jump in and help.
Even if you don’t volunteer, it is vastly important for us all to continue to educate ourselves. Most importantly, if you bare witness to any inequity at school, at work, on the subway, in the store, at the park – it’s our duty to say something. We owe it to each other. Don’t let another moment pass you by where you give in to complacency. Have you ever needed help? Yes. We all have. Someone needs your help today, and all you have to do is be vocal. We can build a better world, together. I have no doubt!
Below are a few links to expand your knowledge and open your heart.
There are many more, this is just a start.
Love. Honor. Respect. Celebrate. Cherish.
29 Influential African Americans
26 Black Americans You Don’t Know But Should
Black History Milestones: Timeline
Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man
Silence Is Not An Option
Say Their Names
Say Every Name
2Though all are welcome and encouraged to read this blog, please understand that this is written by a person with skin privilege, and therefore written from a perspective as a call to action, particularly to others with skin privilege, as I believe it is our duty to use our privileges to help others. For those that know these harsh truths and live this fight daily due to race and inequities you face regularly, I send the utmost love, respect, and empowerment. I welcome corrections and suggestions to re-align my language if I’ve misused any terms or said anything inappropriate. Thank you.