Honoring Black History Month
5 min read | FEBRUARY 1, 2023
Learn From Both the Past and Present
When you hear “Black History Month,” who are some central figures that come to mind? For many, the life and legacy of leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou or Frederick Douglass are at the forefront. But there are so many other people, both past and present, who have helped close the gaps of racial equity. Click here to learn more about Black men and women who have contributed to the shaping of African American history.
Image from PBS Learning Media.
Support Black Owned Businesses
There are many barriers to running a successful business, but particularly so for Black individuals who often face the added obstacle of structural racism. Black people account for 12.8% of the total U.S. population, yet only 2.4% of businesses are Black-owned. Shopping at Black-owned businesses in 2023 is a small step we can take toward acknowledging, supporting and advocating for their continued contributions. Check out this awesome list of Black-owned businesses to shop from, now and forever!
Become familiar with different organizations and charities that are dedicated to advocacy and racial equity. The work they do is essential, not only to address critical healthcare, education, and economic disparities, but also to work toward creating a more equitable and just society. Organizations like the ones featured below are dependent on donations as a way to continue their meaningful work.
Center for Black Equity: Founded in 1999, the Center for Black Equity has been committed to supporting leaders, institutions, and programs for health, economic, and social equity for LGBTQ+ people of African descent.
Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD): BOLD is an African American-led nonprofit organization focused on transforming the practice of Black organizers in the U.S. to increase their alignment, impact, and sustainability to create progressive changes. BOLD carries out its mission through training programs, coaching and technical assistance for BOLD alumni and partners.
Black Women for Wellness: Black Women for Wellness (BWW) was founded in 1997 to protect Black children and mothers. Today, Black Women for Wellness “is committed to the health and well-being of Black women and girls through health education, empowerment, and advocacy.”
Equal Justice Initiative (EJI): The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
For a more comprehensive list of Black-led non-profit organizations, click here.
Law fellows at Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) / eji.org
Read and Share Black Voices
Storytelling, a practice as old as the human race itself, helps people connect with each other on a deeper level, build empathy and offer new ways of understanding. But storytelling can also offer new perspectives, serving as a vital tool for personal and societal growth. Celebrate and share these memoirs by Black authors:
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
- Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
- The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison
- Notes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi and Joshua David Stein
For more inspiration on what to read next, click here.
American writer, James Baldwin / newyorker.com
Read “The 1619 Project”
The 1619 Project is an idea conceived by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and project creator Nikole Hannah Jones, and brought to life by The New York Times Magazine. Beginning in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery, the 1619 project aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative
There’s no shortage of events celebrating and honoring Black History Month! Check your local news outlets to see what’s going on in your area. Additionally, check out what virtual events are happening. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) hosts a number of virtual events and conversations throughout the month of February that are typically free and acknowledge and preserve the accomplishments of Black Americans.
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