“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences”
– Audre Lorde
Times are changing and as we all can hopefully agree, for the better. But let’s keep pushing for lasting change, shall we?
How it all began.
Almost a century ago, Black History Month began as a week dedicated to sharing both African American history and literature. The founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a man who dedicated his life to educating African Americans about the achievements and contributions of their ancestors, felt that much of this knowledge was unspoken in the early twentieth century.
After many years of trying to contain such a vast amount of celebrations in history into just one week – then known as Negro History Week – initiatives were taken to lengthen this honorary time. It wasn’t until 1976, on the 50th anniversary of the first Negro History Week, that the Association for the Study of African American History officially made the shift to Black History Month.
Now, as we look upon a month that most of us have grown to recognize as Black History Month, glimpses of why it all began in the first place often flash across your TV screen, come up in newspaper articles and become classroom activities. Though as prevalent as it may be, there are actions each of us can take as individuals to honour the initiatives that began by one man long ago.
Seek to learn.
This month provides us with a reminder and an opportunity to dig deeper. Utilize this time to dive into any stories or information you can get your hands on. Whether by reading, watching or talking – even the smallest pieces of information can have lasting impacts on the way we think and behave.
With times constantly changing, you may feel moved to read up on the latest efforts and provide support for organizations that empower black communities. Here are some to get you started: Black Lives Matter, Colour of Change, BIPOC – to name just a few.
Support a black-owned business.
Whether a favourite spot in town comes to mind (hey, did you know TWR is a black-owned business?) or whether you need to seek out somewhere new – now is the perfect time to do it! In addition to supporting a small local business, you’ll also be helping communities create jobs, inspiring entrepreneurial opportunities, as well as supporting the continuous movement to help eradicate the racial wealth gap.
TWR is a proud supporter of other black owned businesses like, Sade Baron, MushUp Coffee, and Ouid Smoke Blends – just to name a few. In addition, we are always actively seeking out new BIPOC businesses to continue stocking our shelves with.
Have any recommendations for us? We’d love to hear from you.
Support black literature.
We all know how much our perceptions can change when we step into the shoes of somebody else. Especially when that somebody else has lived with a different set of guiding principles and beliefs than we have! Given that there are so many wonderful books written by African American authors out there, it can be hard choosing the one to read first, but rest assured! Here are some of our favourites:
1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
“When you know better, you do better”
2. Becoming – Michelle Obama
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice”
3. The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
“Love is never any better than the lover”
Plus, now is a great time to start a book club if you haven’t already. So gather round your fellow readers – safely distanced or virtually – and dive in!
Find your voice.
Sometimes it can be hard to speak up against the grain, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where something is said you know is inappropriate – it can have huge impacts beyond just the confrontation of the moment. With a change in language, comes a change in behaviour, rippling out to a changed society.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama
Stay tuned for our next blog release, where we take a closer look at some black wellness influencers and changemakers of our time. With the unfair societal divide that many BIPOC face, we’re passionate about honouring their initiatives, in support of equality and wellness for all.