You probably know that February is Black History Month; have you ever thought about why we do that—you know, declare a month to be about something? The reality is, of course, that every month should be Black History Month—if that means learning something about and caring about black history. But, the fact is that in this country, the history of African Americans, their amazing contributions to nations and societies in this hemisphere, and their luminaries in a variety of fields is still under-studied and under-appreciated.
So, go ahead and dive in: this month, take advantage of the opportunity presented to you and learn something. Listen to music you don’t usually listen to—the blues, jazz, spirituals, funk; read something by Toni Morrison, James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin; watch a movie by Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, or Tyler Perry. Visit a new museum, poke around online.
The point, however, is not just to pick up some new information, but to gain a fresh perspective on the world and appreciate someone else’s experience. This is certainly true if “black history” doesn’t explicitly include the history of you and yours, but it is true even if it does—a category that big includes so many different histories, stories, and individuals that we all have something to learn when we open our eyes and our hearts to voices we have not attended to before.
Black History Month is a gift; go ahead and take it—and do something good with it.