If we look back on the events of the past year, they are nothing short of historic, especially for Black Americans. The killing of George Floyd, a Black man who was murdered in police custody, sparked a collective movement across the nation. Widespread protests highlighted racial injustice and proved the reality of systemic racism. All you have to do is compare photos of the Capitol during the Black Lives Matter protests to the recent storming of the Capitol to see racial inequality. The United States also elected its first Black vice president, and Georgia sent its first Black senator to the Capitol.
The United States recognizes February as Black History Month, but Black history is deserving of celebration year round. Typically, many physical in-person events take place, educating and exposing the masses to cultural traditions and stories. Unfortunately, we remain in the vice grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused disproportionate deaths and job losses for Black Americans. Although we may not be able to come together to celebrate, there are many ways to take part in Black History Month celebrations. Get inspired by the following ideas and cultural events this February.
Become A Bone Marrow Donor:
BeTheMatch foundation is in dire need of African American bone marrow donors. People who identify as Black or African American have a 23% chance of finding a suitable bone marrow match. This percentage is even lower for multiracial patients. The reason for this is because there is a low representation in the registry. Increasing the amount of Black bone marrow donors could mean saving the lives of people suffering from sickle cell anemia or complex blood cancers like lymphoma.
Black History Month In The Parks:
The Urban Park Rangers set up a series of socially distanced outdoor events in New York’s Central Park. These events aim to explore the city’s Black history via walking tours focusing on Seneca Village in the early 1800s before Central Park. This area was predominantly inhabited by African American property owners, and it was a sanctuary for people escaping slavery via the Underground Railroad.
Read Black Literature:
Reading is a lost art, but literature plays an important role in the way we perceive the world. The different viewpoints from authors allow us to see and understand different perspectives of the world over time. During Black History Month, choose books with intention and support black authors and the stories they tell. Does your perception of Black History change after these influences? Consider reading The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop, which honors the accomplishments of female hip-hop artists.
Support Black-Owned Meal Prep Services:
You either love to cook or you don’t, but it’s safe to say that everyone loves to eat. Since health is of the utmost importance nowadays, consider revamping your diet. If you don’t want to cook the meals, subscribe to a meal preparation service that offers chef-curated meals. Many black-owned meal prep services exist around the country, so give them a shot during February. If you need some ideas of companies to order from, click here.
Watch Black Films:
There are powerful Black directors and actors doing big things in the film industry. Streaming services such as HBO Max, Disney+, and Hulu offer Black History Month collections, but there are two recent movies that celebrate pivotal moments in history. Regina King made her directorial debut in One Night In Miami, which captures a fictionalized meeting between Sam Cooke, Jim Brown, Malcom X, and Muhammed Ali on one night. In a room at the Hampton House in February 1964, the four discuss their responsibilities of being successful black men in the Civil Rights movement. Additionally, Judah and the Black Messiah releases in theaters and on HBO Max on February 12th, 2021. This movie focuses on the rise in power of the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers, and the betrayal that resulted in his death by the F.B.I.
Support Black Owned Businesses:
This suggestion should not be limited to the month of February; rather, people should always be conscious of supporting black entrepreneurs or multiracial businesses in their communities. During Black History Month, make intentional decisions to support Black-owned businesses. If you are unaware of these businesses in your area, consider researching your community and see what products/services are offered.