It goes without saying that Black history is something that should be celebrated, taught, and understood regardless of what month it is. However, following a year rife with so many public events centered around the racism America still perpetuates, I think it is important to spend extra time to take a moment to reflect on Black history; both how we have been impacted by it and how we want to shape it in the future. Here are three simple ways I have and will continue to support and appreciate Black History Month.
1. Support Local Black-Owned Businesses and Restaurants
COVID has undoubtedly made a large impact on everyone. For small restaurants and businesses, shorter store hours and a lack of dine-in options have greatly impacted businesses, leading many to shut down permanently. Some ways to support some of these Black-owened businesses and restaurants could be to do a quick Google search. Even just a few minutes of browsing can be an easy and convenient way to find new places to try. When visiting a new place, I like to also use my social media to spread awareness. Sometimes a quick post on an Instagram or Snapchat story could make all the difference! Some local Cincinanti favorites I like to visit are Black Coffee Lounge in downtown, Cream and Sugar in Rookwood, and Conscious Kitchen on Vine st.
2. Use Technology to Learn More
If I’m being honest, sitting down to focus on reading alone is sometimes not possible for me. Listening to a new podcast can be a convenient and efficient way of learning more about different perspectives while still being able to tend to other tasks. If you are interested in popular culture, Brown & Black is an entertaining podcast which invites guests to discuss these topics from the perspective of Brown and Black people. Another favorite is Historically Black, which utilizes seemingly everyday objects as a vessel to illustrate the stories of black people in America.
3. Have open, honest conversations
The best way to understand a person or people’s experience is to simply ask them directly. On campus, the AACRC facilitates round-table discussions which can provide a welcoming atmosphere to encourage guided and productive discussions on black history and the black experience. I have also spoken at length about black history with my parents and close friends. Although discussing these topics with loved ones may feel uncomfortable or difficult, it is important to recognize that the best way to honor things is to be educated about them.
Doing a small thing is better than choosing to do nothing at all. Making an effort to educate yourself, participating in marches, or even visiting a Black-owned restaurant are all steps that are starting ways to celebrate and acknowledge Black History Month.