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As most are aware, February is Black History Month. By dedicating an entire month to this historically marginalized group, we are able to shine a spotlight on achievements by African Americans and able to provide a time for all to recognize their central role in US history. 

With this month comes many social media posts about Black history, the significance of BHM, and various facts about impactful Black figures. While the social media attention is all good and necessary, it can become too easy to simply share an Instagram story and feel as though that is enough to honor Black history and accomplishment.  

In an effort to avoid a performative nature, here are 18 additional actions to take and then, further your education about Black history and show support for POC: 

 

  1. Actively call out racism and prejudice in your community—but remember, out of everything on this list, this should be something you are always doing!
  2. Research cultural appreciation vs. cultural appropriation.  
  3. Visit a Black history or Civil Rights Museum in your local area.  
  4. Listen to podcasts with Black narrators. 
  5. Watch movies about Black history, by Black directors, or about issues of social justice, racial inequality, etc. 
  6. Read books by Black authors—especially ones detailing personal histories or experiences within American culture. 
  7. Attend your university’s Black Student Union events—especially if you aren’t a POC. You will learn from a perspective completely outside your own and show solidarity for your fellow POC!
  8. Watch Black creators on YouTube.
  9. Support Black-owned brands and businesses. 
  10. Donate to a Black organization. 
  11. If you are Black yourself, consider tracing your family history to acknowledge those who came before you. 
  12. Take the time to research a hero of Black history who may go under-recognized. 
  13. Support Black news outlets and organizations like the NAACP.  
  14. Consider speaking with Black community members about their experiences and perspectives, but don’t rely on these individuals to be your sole source of education. 
  15. Listen to Black music. 
  16. Research how your major may or may not be teaching about diversity. For example, in the medical field, images of skin diseases are often shown on white skin, yet they present completely different on darker skin. 
  17. Educate yourself on Black culture—like predominant religions, popular foods, etc.  
  18. Support Black creatives (i.e. artists, poets, musicians, etc.)

Bonus: Register to vote!

By incorporating even just one of these items into your month of February, you will be joining people around the world who are in a quest to raise awareness for and honor all things Black. 

Catherine Lippert, who goes by Cat, is a junior at Duquesne University. Originally from Buffalo, she is in a five-year Physician Assistant program and set to graduate in 2023. Cat is a longtime fan of One Direction and Harry Styles, loves to hike, and takes great pleaure in going to concerts to see her favorite musicians! In spring of 2020, she had the fantastic opportunity to study abroad in Rome, Italy, which taught her a lot about herself and the different cultures around her. After she graduates, she plans to move somewhere warmer than Buffalo and start working in a hospital emergency room, as well as use her free time to travel and to advocate for reforms concerning climate change. Oh, and she plans to get a cat or two from her local rescue!
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