February 5, 2021
Community Voices / Powerful stories bring understanding, in celebration of Black History Month
Terri Thayer

Reading is one way to learn more about Black history and experience. One more option: check out Esi Edugyan’s “Washington Black,” this year’s Whatcom READS selection.

photo: Amy Nelson © 2021
February 5, 2021
Community Voices / Powerful stories bring understanding, in celebration of Black History Month
Terri Thayer

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The essays, analyses and opinions presented as Community Voices express the perspectives of their authors on topics of interest and importance to the community, and are not intended to reflect perspectives on behalf of the Salish Current.

February is Black History Month. 

The idea of Black History Month is wrapped within recognition of National Freedom DayNegro History Week and the civil rights movement. The study and knowledge brings understanding to race and racism in the United States. This past year has been a year of historic moments. We have elected the first Black woman vice president. We have seen protests to push racial justice. And we have continued to see the inability to teach and acknowledge the history of Black Americans.

Black history is woven into the infrastructure of our country. It is essential to understand the history of race and racism that continues to influence our white-centric systems and plague Black people and communities. Black history is woven into the inequality of our economy, laws, politics and power dynamics. Black history is also often a beautifully forgotten part of who we are as a nation. It is woven into engineering, medicine, science, math and technology. It is woven into music, food, art, language, literature and poetry. It is filled with sorrow, heartache, sacrifice, triumph, pride and power. Black history is a celebration of persistence, recognition and continued work for change. Black history has filled my soul with the brilliance of those that came before us and those that stand beside us in this work of progress and racial justice. Black history is filled with powerful voices and amazing people that have made a difference for all of us.

This year the theme for Black History Month is The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.

I am asking all of you to stop and acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of Black people in American history. And I encourage you to put that knowledge into action.

Let us research and increase our knowledge. Let us embrace the powerful voices of Black leaders of the past, present and future. Let’s support and celebrate their contributions.

ENGAGE WITH THE WORK. ENGAGE WITH THE CULTURE. ENGAGE WITH THE PEOPLE.

Learn more!
Biography: Black History Month 
28 Days of Black History 

Watch!
Black History Month: History Channel 
A Wrinkle in Time 
Harriet 
Poetic Justice 
Da 5 Bloods 
Becoming 
Us 
Greenleaf 

Read all about it!
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams 
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James 
Well-Read Black Girl, by Glory Edim 
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou 
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas 
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 
[Editor’s Note: Links updated Feb. 8, 2021]

Listen!
Everyday Black History 
Historically Black 
Witness Black History 
Black History Month NPR: Tiny Desk Concerts 

Support Black-owned businesses!
Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine
Brandywine Kitchen
Calypso Kitchen
Guud Bowls
Zora’s Styling Salon and Spa
Kokoro Massage
Cool Runnings Construction
Pure Fitness Martial Arts
Northwest Drone Pros

The beauty in appreciating diverse experiences require us to “see” all of those the contribute to our community. Take time to open your hearts and minds to the diverse perspectives that make us complete and whole, honoring the diversity of who we are as a community.

We welcome letters to the editor responding to or amplifying subjects addressed in Community Voices. If you wish to contribute to Community Voices, please send an email with a subject proposal to Managing Editor Mike Sato (msato@rockisland.com) and he will respond with guidelines.