Black History Month takes center stage during the month of February. During this month, a culmination of the efforts of historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, since 1926, this month serves as a means to highlight the contributions of people of African descent in the United States and worldwide, as there is a period of time in which they are excluded from the cannon of American History and global history.
While it can be enlightening and empowering to reflect upon the historical contributions, what of the present day? And what are ways that young people from across ethnic and gender lines are able to apply the stories of impact of today in building a brighter future?
The faculty of Pinckneyville Middle School have a blueprint, and part of it involves calling out to the black professional community.
Through the previous leadership and contributions of faculty past and present such as (but not limited to) Lydia Frierson, Shantrelle Singleton, Courtney Gaines, George Evans, Roland Ventura, as well as Andrew Snorton, since 2004, celebrations of Black History Month at the middle school have incorporated student and faculty driven pieces ranging from guest speakers, poetry, spoken word, and ensemble performances (from the band and chorus). This year, under the leadership of faculty members Ivy Bumah and Bridgett Roberson, the school's key focus is having "living" history serve as the culminating manner of celebrating the month.
On Thursday, February 28th, the black professional community is invited to provide a positive difference and impact in the lives of all students. With multiple time slots (9-10:45am, 11am-1pm, and 2-3:30pm), guest presenters as able to interact with 3 classrooms for focused 10-15 minute intervals. During this time, in sharing their stories of impact ranging from their education and how they apply it and interrelated skill sets in their professional settings, along with sharing and disseminating material and other related information focusing on their career and the underlying emphasis of the importance of advanced and higher education.
All interested participants are encouraged to contact Bridgett Roberson via email at email@example.com or by phone at 770-263-0860.
"Most students want to know how is this going to help me in real life", notes Roberson. "During the middle school years, we lose so many of our minority students who become disengaged and are no longer inspired to achieve in school. Later, some of these students become our high school dropouts".
By taking time to engage and provide a historical and present day point of reference, the hope is through the efforts of the professional community, young people in the community are able to get more than just an understanding of the critical and central role of education and its impact. It can allow them to be more understanding of the historical and present-day impacts of the black community, and in turn, be more invested in their academic, professional, and personal development, and become more integrated in making their communities a better place for all.
Understanding and appreciating the past involves taking time during the present to lay the foundation for a better future, but it requires hearing and responding to the call.
Are you listening?