Black History Month is Black Resistance
New Profit's Black affinity group, The Village shares reflections on this year's theme for Black History Month, Black Resistance.February 1, 2023
Black History Month holds complicated and diverse meanings and feelings for people and communities across this country. The range of interpretations and emotions associated with this month is as diverse and complicated as the people and history it commemorates—from deeply inspirational, reflectively somber, to celebratory.
Black History Month celebrates and honors both the triumphs and adversities that Black people have traversed in this country, and centers that rich, diverse legacy that is an indelible part of U.S. history. To truly understand this country—from its violent origins to its chaotic present—is to understand the nuances and trajectory of the Black experience in the United States.
Black History Month presents both an opportunity and a responsibility to commemorate the legacies of centuries of people who have fought and died in the struggle for freedom. It is our responsibility to carry the struggle of our ancestors forward into a future where we confront the lingering traumas of centuries past and build a world that we and our ancestors have dreamed of.
As we kick off this year’s Black History Month, we are tragically reminded of how expendable Black lives are in this country with the gruesome murder of Tyre Nichols by the Memphis Police Department. The horror and rage of Nichols’ murder were compounded by the callous and inhuman spectacle of a countdown to the video of his death that saturated headlines and social media in the days before it aired.
It is a damning reflection of how desensitized we have become to police violence and Black suffering. And what do we do now? At this moment, we would invite Black folks to rest. To ask yourself, what do you need? And we would offer you this affirmation, “I am a powerful and brilliant being, who reflects the love of my ancestors and community.”
To those of you who believe in a future where Black life is honored, we ask you to act. Act knowing that you might get it wrong. Act with the awareness that you too are powerful. Act with the understanding that it will take all of us —a village—to build that future.
The Village is New Profit’s Black affinity group. It is a place where Black New Profit staff come together to connect, learn, support, and celebrate one another. Affinity spaces are necessary for communities that have been marginalized to build a sense of community and belonging.
Equity and proximity are defining pillars and core principles of the work we do at New Profit. It animates our work and strategy in investing and supporting groundbreaking social change leaders in America. The Village deeply believes that only through centering and normalizing equity, proximity, and justice can we begin to create the world we and future generations deserve.
As a community of diverse Black New Profit staffers with different lived experiences and expertise, we are excited and committed to being a thought partner to New Profit to support its vision of an America where we all can thrive.
This year’s theme for this Black History Month is Black Resistance. Resistance has always been a core feature of the Black experience in America. Black people have resisted historical and contemporary oppression in almost every imaginable form. And Black resistance movements have been studied and analyzed by scholars, organizers, and communities for decades and now serve as the model for social movement organizing across the globe.
As we navigate the current socioeconomic and political landscape–an environment that privileges sensationalism and disinformation at the expense of nuance and complexity–resistance continues to be one of our most effective strategies for change.
Black history transcends a single month; it is our responsibility to honor all that this month aims to capture throughout the year and in the course of our lives. Understanding Black history is more important now than ever before. We hope and wish you a thoughtful, reflective, and celebratory Black History Month!
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