We’ve been thinking a lot about Black History Month as we begin February. For our school community, our city, and our world, this is an important reminder to pause and reflect on the celebrations and struggles of African Americans. AND we know this work must go beyond February. We’re constantly inspired by our community, and this month is no different. We’ve been reflecting on the film More Than a Month, which you can watch here. The filmmaker, Shukree Tilghman (who is married to a Crossroads alum!), documents his cross country campaign to end Black History Month in favor of opening a more public, and ongoing, conversation on what it means to be Black in America. Taking Tilghman’s advice on how to better engage with Black History, we want to bring you in to several of the conversations happening in our community right now.
In coordination with the Crossroads BSU, and in anticipation of Black History Month, we’ve invited Black members of our community to share their professional passions and expertise with our students. These conversations will take place throughout the month of February via Zoom and we look forward to hearing from professionals in the following fields: Procurement and Supply Chain Management, Enterprise Digital Strategy, Health Care Administration, Natural Hair Styling, Insurance, Travel, Clinical Therapy, Auditing, and Acupuncture.
Centering Student Voices
It’s no surprise that, as a school, our work is centered first around our students and their experiences. We invited Crossroads students to share what Black History Month means to them, through the following prompt: It is February, Black History Month. Please share your thoughts about this month’s importance to you or to Crossroads and how it is “more than a month.” Here is what they had to say:
- Black History Month is more than a month, it is a beautiful celebration of the black revolutionaries that have shaped my world and identity. ~ Bryan Ammons
- Black History Month signifies the start of change to accepting our past history. It is definitely more than a month because if it was only a month it limits the possibility for conversations about black history and would hinder black culture and black pride. It is more than a month because that would uplift black voices and let the black community be heard all the time more than once. ~ Jasmine Hughes
- As students of history, it is becoming increasingly clear that black history is more and more necessary to fairly and truly encapsulate the history of America and provide knowledge of how we have gotten to the current moment. While it is needed all the time, setting aside a month to focus on it and how it is relevant to modern society is especially relevant. Our complex variations of culture and mix of diverse experiences should be celebrated and Black History Month is a brilliant place to start showing more appreciation for them. ~ David Truman
- Black History Month is not just 28 days of acknowledging how Black people fought and won against racial inequalities in the world. Black History Month is not a ticket to applaud Black people for what they should have been given in the first place. Black History Month is a time and not just the only time, where everyone should do their part in helping fight their fight against the reality of being Black in an anti-black society. This month should be used as an opportunity to gain knowledge on the Black experience. Black History Month isn’t just about uplifting Black history, but the past, present, and future realizing that our work is not done. – Kaitlyn Crump
Equity and Justice
This work isn’t just happening among our families and students, but at every level of the Crossroads community as well. Our Board of Trustees is currently engaged in this work and created an Equity and Justice committee to ensure that these principles are given time and attention as part of their day-to-day efforts and to systematize their practice at Crossroads. Currently, they are bringing the Equity Audit from the Beloved Community to Crossroads. They have met with students to hear about their experience, and they have learned from a student survey created by Sanai Todd and Jack Angelette as part of their Leadership class in the fall.
These initiatives are ongoing and we hope you’ll join in where you feel called. We look forward to engaging in this work throughout February and beyond.
Sarah and Mark