Earlier this month, we posed a question to the Interise staff: “What does celebrating Black History Month mean to you and how does your work reflect this?” We were truly inspired by the responses and we wanted to share them with you.
“As the son of two parents who were raised in Jim Crow Alabama, black history for our family always took priority in creating a thirst and love for your history and for who you are as a person. A consistent dialogue at home to help you understand and to acknowledge your origins in Africa, and your importance to American history complete with the knowledge that so many of your ancestors are some of the greatest innovators the US and the world has ever seen.”
“At Interise, the ability to connect with so many who are dedicated personally and professionally to ensuring that Black businesses, and Black communities are prioritized as a means to empowerment is deeply motivating. I am provided with a daily reminder on how important and impactful our work is and it’s a chance to think, learn, and celebrate.”
“To me, celebrating the plethora of ways Black people have advanced our country in the face of injustices is not enough for Black History Month. It is also a reminder of the unlearning and the learning I need to actively be doing. I think about representation, about who has written our history and how my neighbors see themselves in it.”
“Black History Month is about amplifying Black contributions every day, not just in February. It is about investing my resources today in Black business owners, workers, creators, scientists, educators, activists, and all Black people to support Black history in the making.”
“Black History Month means we’re taking the month to explicitly acknowledge black historical and contemporary figures and black communities. In our society we can do this with our money by being intentionally inclusive with our consumption, including consumption of media (movies, music, etc., created by and telling the stories of black people) and consumption in general (being patrons to black owned businesses).”
“For me, Black History Month is a time to put even more emphasis than usual on the roles historical and existing systems of oppression have played in shaping the lives of Black people in America and abroad. It’s about recognizing that Black history is not something that belongs exclusively to the past, but instead is part of a continuing process: the struggle for liberation.”
As you can see all of the responses had a similar theme – that the celebration of Black history and culture and the work to address systemic exclusions is important and necessary, but it cannot be confined just to the month of February. It is exactly for that reason that Interise is committed to building an inclusive economy that works for everyone everyday.