How to Recognize and Celebrate Black History
What are some of the ways we can truly acknowledge Black history and celebrate that history today? The first way is to affirm that this subject is present and deserves attention all months out of the year – it should always remain in our consciousness. This nation’s history is intertwined with the events that we see today and the institutions that uphold our current state of affairs. For many, this is not a story or a history lesson. It is real life and not something that can be pushed out of mind, out of sight. In the words of James Baldwin,
“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time — and in one’s work. And part of the rage is this: It isn’t only what is happening to you. But it’s what’s happening all around you and all of the time in the face of the most extraordinary and criminal indifference, indifference of most white people in this country, and their ignorance.”
So what can you do?
- Hear Black voices.
- The Atlantic is a magazine dedicated to challenging assumptions and uncovering hidden truths. They have a 160-year history of uplifting Black voices, from W.E.B. DuBois to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Ta-Nehisi Coates.
- COLOR, an affiliate of BridgeTower Media, is an entity that publishes a magazine highlighting diverse leaders in the U.S., as well as offering tools for diversity and inclusion within American institutions. They also offer events to promote and support diverse professionals.
- There are speakers abound who spread truthful histories and thoughtful messages in various ways; Isabel Wilkerson, Brit Bennett, Richard Rothstein, Michelle Alexander, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Octavia Butler, Ryan Coogler, Janelle Monáe, and many many more.
- Hold the media accountable for sharing these stories. The storytelling is not simply in the hands of a few people and mainstream media outlets. The responsibility is also on you to spread works through social media, word of mouth, or even as gifts!
- Donate to organizations doing the work. You can trust that many organizations are doing the hard work of trying to unravel the system of racism that surrounds us today. While monetary donations are always needed and appreciated, you can also take the step to donate your time or amplify their work by sharing. You could also drop a message of support! The work wouldn’t be easy or it would already be done, so they could use some encouragement!
Here are just a few of the many organizations we think you should take a look at:
- Black Lives Matter
- Innocent Project New Orleans
- Voices of the Experienced
- Strong City New Orleans
- Dialogues on Race Louisiana
- Support Black-owned businesses! Yes, you may have heard this a thousand times during February, but supporting Black-owned businesses is the easiest way to help your direct community. Just a quick Google search will bring up numerous lists of Black-owned businesses in your area. If you live in Baton Rouge or New Orleans, here are just a few:
- Baton Rouge Black Owned Business Directory – Facebook Page
- 225 Magazine’s List of Black-owned Restaurants in Baton Rouge
- Yelp’s List of Black-owned businesses in Baton Rouge
- Where Y’at Magazine’s List of Black-owned businesses in New Orleans
- New Orleans Mom’s List of All Black-owned Businesses in New Orleans
- Yelp’s List of Black-owned businesses in New Orleans