Friday, February 1 marked the start of Black History Month, a tribute to the African American men and women who have made contributions to America and the rest of the world.
Here are some ways that white people can celebrate Black History Month.
- Donate money to an organization that fights against injustice and racism and empowers the African American community. Here are a few:
My Brother’s Keeper Alliance
My Brother’s Keeper Alliance was launched by President Obama in 2015. The independent nonprofit organization calls for “action to close opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color” – Obama.org The organization hopes to build safe communities for boys and young men of color to ensure paths to opportunity. My Brother’s Keeper website has more information about its roots and its mission.
If you’re interested in donating to the MBK Alliance, donate here!
Photo taken from My Brother’s Keeper Alliance website: https://www.obama.org/mbka/about-mbka/
Girls For A Change
Girls For A Change (GFAC) was founded in 2000 with a united goal of empowering young women to take the lead in creating social change projects to solve issues that girls face in their own neighborhoods. Since 2013, GFAC has placed a deeper focus on the empowerment and uplighting of girls of color. The organization sees this step as the first step to “end the prejudice, poverty and lack of resources that leave Black girls and young women vulnerable at the margins of society” – Girls For A Change. Check out the organization’s website and find steps to donate here!
Me Too Movement
The ‘me too.’ movement was created in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence find peace and healing. The movement places a strong focus on Black women and girls and other women of color from low wealth communities. The movement’s website has a goal to “speak the needs of a broader spectrum of survivors – young people, queer, trans, and disabled folks, Black women and girls, and all communities of color” -Me Too Movement. If you want to contribute to the movement financially, visit this link.
There are so many organizations that seek to empower the African American community. Share a link on your social media so that others can donate too!
2. Acknowledge your white privilege. Write it down. Share it with friends – social media, conversations, class, anywhere. Talk about it.
Many aren’t aware of their white privilege. Learn about it, acknowledge it in your own life, and help others to acknowledge theirs too. Know it when you see it. Education is powerful.
3. Get involved in Black History Month events locally.
There are many events but sometimes, people are just unaware of them. For example, here are 2 upcoming events in Harrisonburg:
Valley Cemeteries; Discovering Hidden Histories
When: February 12, 2019 (2:00pm-4:00pm)
What: This free event is based on William Good’s book, “Slavery when Humans were Sold as Chattel.” The event will discuss lost cemeteries and the ways that we can honor them. It is led by the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project. It will take place in the Simms Center Conference Room.
Not Made For This: A Story of Fearlessness, Determination, and the Journey to Freedom
When: February 16, 2019 (7:00pm-9:00pm) & February 17, 2019 (4:00pm-6:00pm)
What: A free event taking place at the Simms Center Auditorium. This musical is based on the narrative of Jourdan Banks, an African American who was born enslaved in Elkton, VA.
4. Read books about African American men and women who have changed history. Watch movies where an African American is the star actor.
Even if you think you’re educated, learn more. Read about Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress. James Baldwin, a gay man who heavily involved himself in the Civil Rights Movement. Serena Williams, an unstoppable tennis player, who supports women and fights against racial discrimination. Mary Kenner, an African-American inventor who changed feminine healthcare when she created the maxi-pad. William H. Carney, a man born as a slave who was the first African American to win the Medal of Honor in 1900. Bessie Coleman, the first black woman to earn a pilot’s license. Don’t just read about their accomplishments – read about what these men and women went through to get there.
5. Acknowledge the importance and value of Black History Month – all year long.
The accomplishments of the African American community to America – and the world – should not be limited to just a month. Black history is not a holiday. It does not end March 1st. We should be celebrating all year-round.
Featured Photo by Jerónimo Bernot on Unsplash
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Additionally, check out the JMU Through Living Color Exhibit in Roop Hall, 208! https://dukesvote.home.blog/2019/02/12/jmu-through-living-color-exhibit-now-open/