History and Heritage Months... a Reflection
As we close out February, don't close out on Black History Month. Are you prepared to bring that same #BlackHistoryMonth energy into March and the rest of the school year? Words without actions are meaningless. Celebrate the Black Joy, Black Excellence, and Black Genius year round. Just because it's going to be March, doesn't mean we just turn off Black history and move on to the next highlighted group's history or heritage. It's living and breathing in us every day. From the choices made by our ancestors, to the choices made by our contemporaries, Black history is US History. We give thanks for the strength of our ancestors.
The next heritage month is Arab American Heritage Month then Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. But why must any one culture be limited to a calendar month or a span of 30 days of celebration?!? Why not celebrate their culture and influences to the "American way of life" and "American history" for more than just a month? Yes, I absolutely agree we need to honor and celebrate the individual communities on their hard-fought-for month of recognition. However, I feel we need to do more than honor them once a year. Our country has such a rich tapestry of cultures and communities that make up who we are today. And that tapestry should be reflected every day, not just on one day or one month a year.
As I reflect on the amazing presenters and speakers from our Equity conference earlier this month, I think back to my own teaching and how I'm amplifying Black and Brown voices in the classroom. Dr. Bettina Love reminded us that we can’t go back, we have to create institutions that are just, loving, equitable, and center Black lives. Black genius is the roadmap. As Dr. Gholdy Muhammad says we must cultivate our students’ minds and hearts. What am I doing to raise awareness of all these wonderful groups of people that have influenced our very existence? How am I giving our ancestors a voice to the generations after me to love and appreciate them and their contributions?
Things to think about in your own teaching:
How can you first cultivate your thinking and love for this work and the scholars you teach? Then how will you learn and understand the histories, identities, and literatures of your scholars?