Martin Luther King holiday has come and gone, and Black History Month (February) is upon us. The celebration that began as a week-long event was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford was quoted during its commemoration, urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then, events, celebrations, educational awareness campaigns, and other activities have started in an effort to shed light on the numerous and notable contributions African Americans have made to American economics, culture, government, art and music, academics, healthcare, and much more.
The month follows the Martin Luther King holiday, named for the leader of the Civil Rights movement. Black History Month was deemed so as February encompasses the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas.
This year, Black History Month has a unique tone to our communities and organization following the unprecedented events of 2020. “I have a dream” carries a deeper significance than usual for many, as leaders and system influencers are being called upon to make real change.
Americans of every ideology have tried to make sense of and understand what is taking place in the world, and how our systems and government has come to this point in history. Race, justice, diversity, ethnicity, disparity, implicit bias – these have all been on our minds and weighing heavy on our hearts this past year, with many wondering what happened to compassion and common sense. Black History Month is an opportunity to learn about historic contributions by African Americans, but also to learn about how past events have brought us to where we are now.
In 2021, we ask that we all increase our scope of knowledge by attending lectures or plays (many are available virtually this year), or reading books on the experiences of African American individuals. There are many resources out there available to help expand our knowledge. What is also equally important is that we, in-turn, also expand our positive influence, and do our part to make our little corner of the world a better place for everyone—hopefully, by living by Dr. King’s words, “…that we will only be judged by the content of our character.”
Here is a list of virtual, educational Black History Month webinars, events, and lectures happening around the country: https://www.eventbrite.com/c/black-history-every-month-virtual-events-that-inspire-action-education-and-connection-cwxqphr/