Hey, friends! February is Black History Month, and it’s for all of us to celebrate! Yes, it would be great if if such a thing weren’t necessary because Black history is American history, but it is necessary now and so I particularly want to encourage white families to learn and do more. There are lots of great resources at history.com, and I found this article helpful as an overview with some great suggestions and links to confront racism and support Black communities.
If you have little ones, please read Miriam Willard McKenney’s excellent post at Building Faith, Picture Books for Anti-Racists, which includes a link to the “comprehensive, living list of picture books on a variety of themes related to African-Americans, diversity, and Becoming Beloved community” that she created–a treasure that will enrich your family for years to come.
The National Museum of African-American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, is closed to the public at the moment but you can explore their amazing collection virtually, visit the Talking About Race Web Portal, or take in this cool exhibit on sports.
How can you engage locally? Order in from Black-owned restaurants, shop at Black-owned businesses, which have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. I’m doing my shopping online these days, and Etsy has me covered with a list of Black-owned shops. You can also make a donation to a Black-led organization–you’ll find many here. I’m going to make a donation to Children’s Defense Fund in honor of Marian Wright Edelman, Mrs. Edelman to me, because it was “founded, powered, and inspired by the legacy of Black heroes” and Mrs. Edelman is one of mine.
You can celebrate with entertainment: Parade Magazine has a list of “35 Inspiring, Joyful and Moving Movies” from various streaming services to watch, and Black History Month has also inspired February’s Tiny Desk Concert series at NPR with “different genres and generations” each week. If you’re at a loss, I’m betting your tweens and teens can tell you which Black artists to highlight for a family dance party.
A couple of years ago, my son Peter gave me this fantastic book of short stories by N.K. Jemisin, How Long ’til Black Future Month? I commend to you both the book and the question. Let’s join the essential work to ensure the answer is now.
Wendy Claire Barrie is the author of Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents.