Celebrating Black History Month 2022
Myra James serves as CEO of ILAC & STEM Director of The Boys & Girls Club
As February comes to an end, I wanted to share how I celebrated Black History Month with my Boys & Girls Club K-12 students for 2022. This year I was determined to make a bigger impact on them by learning about an influential Black leader every day of the month. Below you will find the authors, scientists, civil rights activists, athletes, and musicians we discussed. The posters were arranged on a large bulletin board in a hallway that was updated every day - adding to the suspense of who we would learn about tomorrow.
As a class, we spent 10- 15 minutes a day watching speeches, listening to music, looking at Instagrams, and viewing the work of 28 Black innovators that have shaped history and paved the way for future generations. One of my goals this year was to learn with my students. I was very transparent that I wasn't familiar with Toni Morrison's books, Garrett Morgan's inventions, or Serena Williams's businesses.
I think it is very easy to dismiss and underestimate how we can positively impact others because as a K-12 educator, I understand the impact seemingly simple decisions can have on students, decisions like what books to include in the library and what coloring pages I print out.
"Black History Month is all 12 months for me. We celebrate Black Excellence every single day of the year." -Lebron James
To celebrate Black Excellence every single day I am intentional about building a classroom library that includes books by and featuring people of color. I am intentional to include printed coloring pages that exhibit a variety of hairstyles and textures. I believe these seemingly small intentions to expose all of my students to diversity will compound and follow them as they learn and grow.
This February I was inspired by Dr. Vivien Thomas's journey, Misty Copeland's persistence, and the photography of Jordan Parks. To continue learning and to celebrate Black Excellence I've added Toni Morrison's book Beloved and Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming to my spring reading list. I have also decided to set some time aside to reexamine who I am following on social media. To be intentional about following BIPOC and women who inspire me and challenge my thinking.
Please share how you celebrated Black History Month this year and if you have any suggestions for me for next year!