Black History Month can be a powerful opportunity to reflect on the Black leaders, authors, artists and visionaries who’ve moved us. It can also be a meaningful time to support Black-owned businesses and embrace new ways to honor the Black experience.
We asked our Thrive community to share with us the different ways they are celebrating Black History Month. Which of these ideas will you take on?
Research your family history
“As a second generation American born to West Indian/Caribbean parents, every day is a celebration of my blackness, culture, and heritage. As we celebrate the achievements of African Americans this month, I submitted my DNA and found matches with hundreds of people who share my DNA — but unfortunately, because of the slave trade, we couldn’t figure out how we are related. Our connections have been severed, surnames have been changed, and the only thing we have in common is our melanated skin and percentage of DNA. Not to be discouraged, for Black History Month, I am going to research my family lineage. I have a picture of my maternal great grandmother from Martinique and a card dated back to 1885. I am curious to learn about her life in Martinique during the late 1800s post slavery. This is going to be a big task, but it’s another layer of my story and ties to my roots, which is worth celebrating 365 days a year.”
—Karla J. Noland, personal development coach, Durham, NC
Enroll in a digital webinar
“I support black-owned businesses and social justice movements all year long — but I cannot get enough of Black History Month. It’s my own personal pep rally to strengthen my resolve and pride in my culture. I celebrate BHM by gaining knowledge, and the last two Februarys especially have presented a plethora of virtual opportunities. I’ve moved from celebrating BHM pre-pandemic by attending a play or concert, to now enrolling in every virtual webinar, book discussion, or digital exhibit that I can fit on my calendar. The emergence of digital access to content during BHM has exploded. It’s encouraging to engage with diverse thought-provoking programming, perspectives, and trailblazers on a national scale.”
—Vickie Henson, talent development and engagement consultant, St. Louis, MO
Celebrate a role model of yours
“To celebrate Black History Month, I’m reflecting on the legacy and life of my late mother, Donna Reese. She was a wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, friend, and community leader, was a disability rights & civil rights advocate, and long-time community activist. She was also a proud member of the CENTRO Board of Directors, the first African-American woman who is also Blind to hold this position. Donna served as a two-term President for the Syracuse Chapter of the NAACP. She dedicated her life to years of hard work standing up, speaking out, and making a change in the community for social and racial injustice.”
—Tammy Reese, journalist, Syracuse, NY
Re-read a book that inspires you
“When I was in graduate school at the University of Michigan, I heard Dr. Cornel West speak on Martin Luther King Day. I’m going to reread his book Restoring Hope to celebrate Black History Month. There’s a conversation in it with Dr. Maya Angelou that is inspiring.”
—Kristin Meekhof, author and book consultant, Royal Oak, MI
Start a Diversity & Inclusion committee at work
“At our company, we’re committed to diversity and inclusion this Black History Month – and every month – through several initiatives. The first and most impactful commitment we make is through our internal D&I Committee, created to face tough issues with difficult but necessary conversations, education and awareness for our organization. We also donate to local charities and work to amplify marginalized voices. We defer to the voices which need to be amplified – those of Black speakers, activists, artists, educators and parents – and participate in required-reading programs with books from Black authors on racism, anti-racism work, and the history of race in our country. We are dedicated to growth and change. We stand with marginalized communities and demand transformative, sustainable solutions that affirm the equality and impact of the Black community.”
—Tricia Sciortino, CEO, Charlotte, NC
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