For America to heal a past that is sometimes horrid, we must work to bring all American history into the light. One way every person and family can make Black History Month personal, is by asking the elders.
We are losing the generation that remembers and participated in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Many of them, Black, white and brown, risked their lives to fight against discrimination and oppression. Don’t let their stories die with them.
Ask them what that time was like and, if they were part of the movement, thank them for all that they did. If they were not part of the movement, they still have stories about a pivotal era. Systemic racism is alive and well in America, but it would be even worse without their brave fight.
Another way to make it personal is to keep learning, and, to quote Maya Angelou, “when you learn, teach.”
This year legislatures in more than half of the nation’s states are either considering or have passed laws to prevent teaching children the truth about our nation’s racist history. Don’t let them stop you from knowing the truth. There are abundant resources on the internet that those keeping the myth of white supremacy alive cannot keep from you.
One way I hope more people will make it personal is to hold themselves and officials accountable to the promises that have never been kept. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Liberty and justice for all.
These often feel like empty promises to people of color. Become a co-conspirator in making them come true for all Americans. Do it at the office, at school, at church, in the community and everywhere you go.
Black history belongs in year-round teaching and learning. We hope this series has and will pique your interest in learning more about Black History Month, celebrating the Americans who made it, and selecting at least one way to make it personal for you.
To learn more from Kymberlaine Banks, check out her full company profile. Diversity Crew works with corporations, nonprofits, academia, and government to help make equity, inclusion, belonging and justice part of our culture. We can help you make it part of your culture wherever you lead. Contact us at LetsGo@DiversityCrew.com to get started today.
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History – https://asalh.org/ – Established on September 9, 1915, by Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Black History Month – https://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/ – The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society
National Park Service African American Heritage 36 parks and sites – https://www.nps.gov/subjects/africanamericanheritage/visit.htm – Though perhaps not the primary purpose for a park’s founding, these National Park Service sites celebrate and honor the African American Stories within their boundaries and communities.