Black History Month: Reaching Out

We are pleased to bring you a guest post from National CASA’s diversity manager, Tracy Evans.


Black History Month: Reaching OutWhile Black History Month officially ends at 12:01 am on March 1, black history is something to be embraced and honored year-round. Awareness periods such as Black History Month offer special opportunities to celebrate the history, accomplishments, challenges and the uniqueness of communities that have historically been under-recognized. They also provide a chance to connect and engage with people from other races, ethnicities and cultures. Here are three suggestions:

 

  1. Step out of the boxes of your professional and formal associations and engage people you already know on a personal level. Invite them to a family gathering, to share a meal, to participate in a book club together or, perhaps, to try out a new hobby together. You may find that you have much in common, and even turn a colleague into a wonderful new friend.
  2. Be intentional about learning about people from a culture different than your own. Seek out information about the histories, contributions, accomplishments and plights of others through websites, documentaries, exhibits, artistic performances and cultural ceremonies, intergroup dialogue, university lectures, bookstore readings and even coalition-building groups. There are countless ways to learn about others. Pick what will work best for you.
  3. Volunteer in a different community to foster ties to others. It’s a great way to meet new people, and you’ll reap the internal rewards associated with being in service to others. Often, volunteering allows us the opportunity to see the world from a newer perspective, reconnects us to our gifts and reminds of us our own blessings.

While the concentrated effort to recognize the plight and contributions of black Americans happens during only one month of the year, it is important to remember that black history is not merely black history; it is also American history. Certainly, the stories of black Americans cannot be told in a month. With that in mind, make the effort to honor your own history and learn from the histories of others– not just for 28 days, but for 365! (Or, in this leap year, 366!)

Black History Month: Reaching Out

 

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3 Responses to Black History Month: Reaching Out

  1. SF says:

    This is an excellent article. Thank you, especially, for your three suggestions for engaging individuals of different cultures and people groups.

  2. Catherine Carson says:

    Thank you to TX CASA for including this incredible article … I am thankful to be an American in which ALL of God’s children are recognized. Being one who is working behind the scenes with some of our troubled youth, it takes all walks, all people, all experiences to come forth and provide healing, hope and unconditional love to these traumautized children. God Bless America!

  3. Shana says:

    Life Without Black People…NO offense to ANYONE!
    A very humorous and revealing story is told about a group of white people who were fed up with African Americans, so they joined together and wished themselves away. They passed through a deep dark tunnel and emerged in sort of a twilight zone where there is an America without black people.
    At first these white people breathed a sigh of relief.
    All of the blacks have gone! Then suddenly, reality set in. The ‘NEW AMERICA’ is not America at all – only a barren land.
    1. There are very few crops that have flourished because the nation was built on a slave-supported system.

    2. There are no cities with tall skyscrapers because Alexander Mils, a black man, invented the elevator, and without it, one finds great difficulty reaching higher floors.

    3. There are few if any cars because Richard Spikes, a black man, invented the automatic gearshift, Joseph Gambol, also black, invented the Super Charge System for Internal Combustion Engines, and Garrett A. Morgan, a black man,
    invented the traffic signals.

    4. Furthermore, one could not use the rapid transit system because its procurer was the electric trolley, which was invented by another black man, Albert R. Robinson.

    5. Even if there were streets on which cars and a rapid transit system could operate, they were cluttered with paper because an African American, Charles Brooks, invented the street sweeper..

    6. There were few if any newspapers, magazines and books because John Love invented the pencil sharpener, William Purveys invented the fountain pen, and Lee Barrage invented the Type Writing Machine and W. A. Love invented the
    Advanced Printing Press. They were all, you guessed it, Black.

    7. Even if Americans could write their letters, articles and books, they would not have been transported by mail because William Barry invented the Postmarking and Cancelling Machine, William Purveys invented the Hand Stamp and Philip Downing invented the Letter Drop.

    8. The lawns were brown and wilted because Joseph Smith invented the Lawn Sprinkler and John Burr the Lawn Mower.

    9. When they entered their homes, they found them to be poorly ventilated and poorly heated. You see, Frederick Jones invented the Air Conditioner and Alice Parker the Heating Furnace. Their homes were also dim. But of course, Lewis
    Lattimer later invented the Electric Lamp, Michael Harvey invented the lantern, and Granville T. Woods invented the Automatic Cut off Switch. Their homes were also filthy because Thomas W. Steward invented the Mop and Lloyd P. Ray the Dust Pan.

    10. Their children met them at the door – barefooted, shabby, motley and unkempt. But what could one expect? Jan E. Matzelinger invented the Shoe Lasting Machine, Walter Sammons invented the Comb, Sarah Boone invented the Ironing Board, and George T. Samon invented the Clothes Dryer.

    11. Finally, they were resigned to at least have dinner amidst all of this turmoil. But here again, the food had spoiled because another Black Man, John Standard invented the refrigerator.

    Now, isn’t that something? What would this country be like without the contributions of Blacks, as African-Americans?

    Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘by the time we leave for work, millions of Americans have depended on the inventions from the minds of Blacks.’

    Black history includes more than just slavery, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Marcus Garvey & W.E.B. Dubois.

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