CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Black History Month actually started as Negro History Week in 1917. Author, journalist and historian Carter G. Woodson, now appropriately recognized as the “father of black history,” lobbied vigorously for the national recognition of black stories and perspectives. Woodson believed deeply that equality was only possible with the acknowledgement and understanding of a race’s history, and dedicated his life to the study of African-American historical research.

Black History Month should be viewed as an opportunity to spotlight contributions by African Americans, like musicians, artists, writers, poets, inventors, explorers, scientists, business people and soldiers, etc. It should be an opportunity for us all to learn from others who have a different and diverse viewpoint, all with the intent of uplifting and highlighting those who are all unique.

Allow this month to be one where you to educate yourself. I, personally, haven’t done the best in researching in the past, but I want to aim to do better about inclusion and my thinking from now on.

If you live in the Western North Carolin area, below are some options for you to support those who are like neighbors to you. If not, do more research into how you can support black-owned businesses in your area.

Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.

Author Unknown

READ BOOKS

If you are a reader like me, I love to sit on the couch curled up with a good book. Take this time to read a new book that offers insight to one you might not have had before. Target offers a Black History Month section with books by many talented black writers. Below, I’ve listed a few of my personal favorites. There are hundreds to choose from, so get to reading!

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • A Promised Land by Barak Obama
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
  • Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

WATCH MOVIES / DOCUMENTARIES

Regardless of your background, we can all stand to watch more diverse films, so let Black History Month be the catalyst for committing to taking a look at your movie nightfare. Diversifying our consumption doesn’t just broaden our worldview, it also shows Hollywood that we want to see better Black and BIPOC representation onscreen. It’s all about aligning media with what the world actually looks like. Also, who doesn’t love Remember the Titans?!

  • Hidden Figures
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)
  • The Hate U Give
  • The Help
  • Remember the Titans

SHOP / EAT LOCAL

  • BLACK MOUNTAIN CIDER + MEAD
  • SPICE + TEA MERCHANTS

This month, do your own research. Find companies owned by African Americans in your area and make a conscious effort to not only support them this month, but in the coming months and years ahead. We are put on this Earth to learn from one another and to have different viewpoints. The Lord made no mistake in His children precious in His sight.

  • Make an ongoing, monthly donation to an organization 
  • Consciously buy from Black-owned businesses and restaurants 
  • Continue your self-education.
  • Sign petitions online, send texts, make phone calls and attend local events.

How do you plan to support black owned businesses around you? Let’s chat in the comments below!

XO,

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UNREST & UNRELENTING LOVE

Originally, I had another blog at the forefront of my list to work on for this morning. However, the events that have transcended over the last few days have left me speechless, appalled and sincerely very concerned for the future direction of this country. I am not usually one to keep up with major news events and delve into politics, per say, but this is a major issue that needs to be addressed. In no way, shape or form am I here to necessarily speak on the topics of politics in depth, per say, but the fact of the matter is that we are living a time where hate is rampant and the world has turned a blind eye to injustice.

If you have been more of a “hermit” than me and have been living under a cardboard box for the past week, the Congress building was breached by Pro-Trump supporters and rioters after a rally on Wednesday, Jan. 6. Four people are dead. Multiple officers were left injured. Because Trump urged his supporters to fight against the counting of the electoral votes that will confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win, government property was defaced and people were left scrambling in the aftermath.

Riots at the Capitol

Am I shocked to say that something of this magnitude played out the way they did? I would be lying to say I’m not. After the tumultuous year we came off of, I am in no way surprised that the “same shit, different year” mantra still applies. We are only a week into a new year and a major political “event” has captured the world’s attention.

However much we disagree with the appointed leaders and administration of this country or even at our jobs, we must also remember to be respectful and take everything with discretion. With power comes great responsibility. Sitting idly for things to get better on their own cannot be an option, because it won’t happen that way. Has there been good things to come from the Trump administration? Sure. Has it torn this country apart in more ways than I thought possible? Most definitely.

This country and the church, likewise, needs solid guidance now more than ever. Without strong leadership, a nation and a church cannot stand (well, anyway). As the number of legitimate and godly advisers grow, the stronger she then follows. With that being said, this nation has seen more divide in the last four years than it has in a long (loose terminology, here) time. Why are we as a nation are celebrating mediocracy and spewing hatred has become more accepted than not.

For a lack of guidance a nation falls,
but victory is won through many advisors.

Proverbs 11:14

Like in Proverbs 11, you can never underestimate the power of solid leadership. To the writer of Proverbs 11, the nation they were speaking of was Israel — God’s people.

What I do know is that our Lord’s sovereignty, love and mercy is unmatched and also unrelenting. He knew MILLIONS of years ago that this would play out in the manner that it did. He knew that we as people are broken, flawed and ungrateful sinners, but are a people who are in desperate need of His love. Leaders rise and fall. Leaders come and go. Trump, like many, have followers who think they like the idea of what he stands for, but have no idea of the policies he speaks of or how cruel of a person he really is. Our president just recently had his Twitter permanently blocked because of the slander he has continued to spread. Is that the bigotry we wish to support and be remembered for? Remember that no amount of evil or injustice will halt God’s plan. He is bigger than anything that has come about and will sustain us in problems that arise in the future. We cannot do anything too big or too screwed up to mess with His plan. God’s heart is to see the injustice in the world cease.

God isn’t so involved in fulfilling His plans that he forgets to hear, remember, see or acknowledge His people + the hurting. In Exodus 2, the Israelites are living out this very issue. They called out to God in their cry for help and God heard their groaning. God saw and God knew. My prayer is that I too am like God in that I open my eyes, my heart and my “plans” to God’s people and the hurting around me. I want to hear, remember, see and acknowledge people’s hurt, pain, oppression and injustice. He is the only one that can sustain us and has done a pretty damn good job proving Himself if I say so myself.

As we go out into the world, today, let us be cognizant and readily available to those who are silently hurting around us. If you have the privilege of putting your phone away in disgust or changing the channel without a second thought, consider yourself lucky and even slightly “privileged.” Check on your friends, neighbors and coworkers who might not be experiencing the same luxuries as you. They are living with the real + raw consequences of this world everyday and it is our job to help advocate with/for them and to help take a stand against social injustice. Help in taking up one another’s cross and easing a burden when see fit.

Remember today and everyday that the Lord has blessed each of with a uniqueness and distinctiveness to be celebrated. Let us understand that in diversity, we are loving out the kingdom of God. We were all made in the image of His likeness and we as His people have an obligation to withhold the integrity of others. Inclusiveness is key.

Like one of my favorite hymns proclaims, Christ will hold me fast. His promises will last.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD? LET’S CHAT (NICELY) IN THE COMMENTS!