Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Black History Month gets me thinking every year, but this year in particular, I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on what it means to celebrate Black history in America today.
There are names we’re used to hearing from Black history, like Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver. But it’s becoming more and more widely known that those names just scratch the surface of the richness of Black history.
At the Goodman Center, our staff working with our children and youth lift up Black history every day, and make an extra point to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans during the month of February. Arthur Morgan, Middle School Manager, likes to talk about the lesser-known names of Black history, like Garrett Morgan, whose breadth of inventions rivals Benjamin Franklin, but who is rarely brought up in school classrooms. This whole semester, our Transition Academy high school students are reading books written by black authors, and our youngest students are exploring Black history through picture books and art activities.
These conversations – happening this month and every day – are so important because they help our kids see there is Black excellence all around them, including themselves.
The last year has shined a spotlight on long-standing inequities, racism and bigotry in our country. It has also made Amanda Gorman a household name. This young Black woman read a poem she wrote at the inauguration of America’s first Black, female vice president. We also met Kizzmekia Corbett, the scientific lead on the Vaccine Research Center’s coronavirus team, and we saw Rosalind Brewer rise to the level of CEO of Walgreens, the first Black woman to hold the top position at a Fortune 500 company. And there have been many more.
Black history is being made every day. Who knows what hope and promise awaits the young people in our classrooms and halls? At the Goodman Center, we aim to find out. Our work is all about – making sure everyone in our community has the resources they need to live up to their individual excellence and be successful – no matter what that success looks like for the
Letesha Nelson, CEO / Executive Director
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