Updated: Feb 27
As this month of February closes and as the new year becomes less of a new year, I cannot help but reflect on how fast time is truly flying. Taking a moment to slow down, to contemplate, to learn, and to reflect seems awfully simple yet awfully hard, given the busyness of our lives and the stress of real-world concerns. However, it’s important to not let the lessons of February - Black History Month - get overtaken in the day-to-day details of life. We at CANA wanted to offer some ideas to continue to recognize and learn Black History throughout the year with the following ideas and suggestions.
Visit a museum
History comes alive in our Nation's museums, and many of these institutions had events, conferences and celebrations surrounding Black History Month. Most have excellent exhibits that will extend throughout the year. Get out there and see first-hand our Nation's collective historical treasures. An obvious choice in our Nation’s backyard is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History (https://nmaahc.si.edu/). Also, many institutions, including the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASAALH) as well as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, offer digital programming for those who are not able to leave home.
Read and reflect
Libraries, bookstores, used bookstores (my favorite!) — not to mention online repositories and booksellers — are overflowing with interesting and engaging works of literature, history, and biography. Take a break, find a book about a part of Black History that you were previously unaware of and get educated. Take some time to then share and reflect with your friends, family, and colleagues. One single topic can turn into a tapestry of honest discussion.
Seek and you shall find...on the internet
There are expansive digital resources available online, which continue to provide easy access to Black History Month collages, anthologies, and profiles on Black leaders, historical figures, authors, poets, artists, teachers and more. A really engaging compilation published by Google can be found here under its Google Arts & Culture page -https://artsandculture.google.com/project/black-history-and-culture.
It takes a mere three seconds (depending upon how fast you type!) to type the words “Black History” into your search engine, and your world will explode with accessible content!
Stay civically engaged
One of the best ways to stay engaged and to help contribute to a better society is by contacting members of Congress, whether local, state or federal. Ask them what they did to celebrate Black History Month and what specific legislative actions they plan or are planning to take to ensure your community remains committed to providing opportunities for each and every person. It may not necessarily be part of your routine nor always comfortable to reach out to elected officials, but it is important to share your voice and be informed on what our government leaders are doing and planning. Be part of the process!
Lastly, an idea - write a blog!
It makes you stop, ponder and realize, oh yes, thinking and learning about and understanding Black History should not be limited to the month of February - it can happen every day.
Like Ferris Bueller famously once said, “[l]ife moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.” Let’s find those moments to stop and look around. Black history is interwoven throughout the past, present, and future of our Nation. Let’s see where we’ve come from, and where we need to go!
Liz Cranston is the Chief Executive Officer & Chief Financial Officer of CANA Advisors. You can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.