Black History Month is the celebration of achievement by the Black communities. It originates in America, with African Americans recognizing their role in American History. It first began in 1915, half a century after the end of enslavement as ‘Negro History Week’ and later became Black History Month.
Carter G. Woodson, the historian behind the idea, said the intention was to celebrate the historic contribution of the Black community. Currently, this important event helps to highlight the struggles of the Black community and the people involved in the struggle.
Although America and Canada celebrate Black History Month in February, and the United Kingdom and Ireland celebrate in October the purpose remains the same. Black History Month is an event that individuals need to celebrate and be excited about. Black History Month is to be appreciated and celebrated by all races; it is not limited to the Black race only. There are many ways one can choose to celebrate BHM.
Know the theme
For one to celebrate Black History Month, one must know the theme, since the theme unites people together towards a common purpose regardless of where they are celebrating. Most of the people celebrating Black History Month hardly know the theme. Black History Month is celebrated twice a year in February (America and Canada) and October (UK and Ireland). Every BHM has a theme for instance the February 2022 theme was ‘Black Health and Awareness’ and the October 2022 theme is ‘Time for Change: Action Not Words'. The theme is geared towards educating people to be champions of antiracism and against activities that degrade the black race.
Learn about Black heroes and heroines, and their contributions
A great way to celebrate BHM is not just by learning head-on, the struggles and achievements fought by Black heroes and heroines like Martin Luther, and Rosa Parks, but also the current individuals who represent the Black community, like the fastest marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge, or former US first lady Michelle Obama fight for Black female rights. Get to learn the lessons and teaching behind their struggles. You can learn through reading books about or authored by Black writers, watching movies with Black themes, listening to their speeches, and the message they give.
Donate or raise money for charities that support anti-racism, and equality
Raise money for a charity that is dedicated to supporting individuals of Black or ethnic minority backgrounds, for example wateraid.org, and Food Aid, among others. Also, you can help raise cash meant for charity through activity such as sponsored marathons or walks, cake sales or raffles. All these should have a common agenda of supporting Black charities and emphasising the Black History Month theme.
Understand or appreciate the struggle
Another way to celebrate is to appreciate the Black struggle and hardships in their quest for equality and non-discrimination. Treat people of different races equally and make it your business to tackle discrimination and improve the lives of Black people. This can be done by addressing racism in the workplace or when you see it in public. The main intention is to reduce the number of Black individuals suffering from racial injustices.
Create or participate in a Black-oriented event
There are many events held celebrating Black History Month in cities and institutions in February and October, for instance the ‘Black History Month: Time For Change’ event to be held on 19 October 2022 at the University Centre Warrington Time Square. Some of these events are virtual or physical attendance. You can search for these events in your area and get the opportunity to learn and share experiences.
One other way to support the black community if there are no events locally is to create an event and include Black speakers to focus on the theme, educate and share their experiences. The event should recognise the contribution and achievements of the Black community, it should make people understand Black history, going beyond racism and slavery. It should aim to promote the Black contribution to society.
Lastly, search for Black History content and sources of information and innovation that will bring positive change to the Black community. You can share your content with the Black History Month magazine and even put your influence on the next Black History Month theme.