Why not just Black History… period?
I think that Black History Month is important, but it should be more than just a month. It should be a part of the curriculum, just like Public Act 19-12 (requiring Black and Latinx Studies to be offered in all high schools in CT), which we all advocated for. But, with the responsibility of teaching that kind of content, it’s important to teach it in a safe and engaging way that will not harm students. For example, SEJ advocated for anti-racist teacher trainings, but that part of the Bill was later taken out due to lack of funding. Teaching Black history year round would enhance the knowledge of young minds of all races. Many biases would be addressed once these young people begin to learn and unlearn their true histories, and they will appreciate different cultures.
Throughout K-8 schooling, I never learned much about Black history during Black History Month. I was only taught Black history by my parents or through short Black history facts told over the loudspeaker. I personally think if we’re going to make a change in the world, there has to be a change in the way we teach history for all cultures. One of the changes that would be beneficial is incorporating history into assignments about other cultures into the curriculum daily - not just highlighted for a specific month or thrown in every now and then to try to fulfill some kind of ethnic lesson quota. Yes, we have to learn the fundamentals, (e.g. the middle passage, slavery, and civil rights) but we cannot stop there. We have to learn the empowering history of Black people and other races in America. Which means that we have to learn about the history and origin of race and racism in the U.S. It means that we cannot keep teaching kindergarten through eighth grade students that Christopher Columbus “discovered” the Americas (where millions of people were already, not only living, but thriving).
Like a plant, if you only water it once in a while, it won't thrive; it cannot grow. To that end, you have to teach all of our histories in order for young people to grow in understanding and self-awareness. Black History Month, in my opinion, should be expanded upon. It should be constantly embedded into classrooms - along with the histories of other cultures and ethnicities that were integral in making America the country it is today.