In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History month. In his speech, he urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.
Since his administration, every American president has recognized Black History Month and its mission. But it wasn't until Congress passed "National Black History Month" into law in 1986 that many in the country began to observe it formally. This year, President Biden’s presidential proclamation began with these words:
A Proclamation on National Black History Month, 2022
JANUARY 31, 2022
Each February, National Black History Month serves as both a celebration and a powerful reminder that Black history is American history, Black culture is American culture, and Black stories are essential to the ongoing story of America — our faults, our struggles, our progress, and our aspirations. Shining a light on Black history today is as important to understanding ourselves and growing stronger as a Nation as it has ever been. That is why it is essential that we take time to celebrate the immeasurable contributions of Black Americans, honor the legacies and achievements of generations past, reckon with centuries of injustice, and confront those injustices that still fester today.
Our Nation was founded on an idea: that all of us are created equal and deserve to be treated with equal dignity throughout our lives. It is a promise we have never fully lived up to but one that we have never, ever walked away from. The long shadows of slavery, Jim Crow, and redlining — and the blight of systemic racism that still diminishes our Nation today — hold America back from reaching our full promise and potential. But by facing those tragedies openly and honestly and working together as one people to deliver on America’s promise of equity and dignity for all, we become a stronger Nation — a more perfect version of ourselves.
For me - Black History Month is about expanding our consciousness - by celebrating diversity and the American story. By learning and sharing the stories of African Americans and their ancestors, we enlarge our imaginations and our hearts, helping to co-create a more inclusive, anti-racist, and just nation.
There are multiple 28-day Challenges for Black History Month on-line that can assist us in this journey. I’ve listed a few of these, and other resources, below. I invite us all to take up the challenge.
Because of them WE CAN https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/blogs/culture/join-our-2022-black-history-month-challenge
28 Days: Moments in Black History LIVE Read-Aloud/Performance with Charles R. Smith Jr.
Black History Storytime: 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed The World
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_Z65ZpdrBI 28 Facts About Black History and Changemakers,
28-Day Racial Equity Challenge - New York State Bar Association https://nysba.org/28-day-racial-equity-challenge-2022/
28 Facts About Black History and Changemakers, From Beyoncé to Frederick Douglass
Namasté – Rev. Vicky