Black History Month 2022 is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean celebrating the beauty of Black culture is over. In fact, it’s far from it. This is just a mere opportunity to learn how to extend the same awareness the month brings year-long.
But, of course, in order to continue to honor the Black community, it is crucial you understand how to observe Black History Month.
You might think you already know because you can name a few Black historical figures and speak on the inhumanity when slavery was visible to the public eye. However, it goes further than that. It is also necessary to become conscious of the many inequalities and inequities the Black community still faces and how you can raise awareness of it.
To some, activism and showing up for injustice may be second nature, but that’s not the case for everyone – and that’s fine. Everyone starts somewhere.
Here are ways we suggest you can observe Black History Month and continue to do so after February:
Familiarize yourself with the arts and its origins
Learning about the beauty of Black culture is an emotional rollercoaster. For one, almost as soon as you start diving into this realm of it, you’ll realize that the Black community pioneered a lot of the things society has enjoyed. Let’s take music, for instance. From jazz to country to our popular rhythms and beats, they all originated from Black roots. That’s true power and talent. However, injustice has always been prevalent; many of these accomplishments have been watered down or white-washed because racism is a lingering devil. This is why, every chance you get, let people know that there are deep stories behind the music they listen to.
Understand what systemic oppression is
Not long ago, think 1933, the United States government implemented segregation. This meant that there were designated areas deemed lesser than all based on someone’s skin color. I’m sure you know this and know the terrible effects this brought to humanity. In those times, redlining took place, meaning that real estate was judged by the surrounding cultures, leaving it less functional and appealing to people from the Black community and other underserved communities. Though that discriminatory practice has been decriminalized, subtle forms still exist. This is the same case regarding the segregation of schools. It’s true, segregation is no longer part of what makes America tick, but should you go to public schools data, you’ll see that there are some schools whose race demographics are limited. Oddly, this happens considering there was a time when the United States budgeted for desegregation buses, which doesn’t seem like it fixed the problem.
The remnants of these racist behaviors continue to hover the very air we all breathe. This is why we need to make sure we vote in the right representatives whenever it’s an election year and ensure we are not (nor anyone around us) perpetuating these practices in modern-day America.
Pay attention to what you consume
The ultimate goal is to celebrate the Black community year-long, and, frankly, it’s easier than ever. There are many things you can do to do this. For example, supporting Black content creators or Black-owned businesses is definitely the right move. If you’re unsure where to start, try following creators on social media besides Oprah Winfrey and Viola Davis. Try the emerging creators of tomorrow, such as Quinta Brunson or Khaby Lame.
With that said, continue celebrating Black History – today, tomorrow, and forevermore.