Lasting the test of time

The importance of implementing Black History Month efforts year-round

Graphic+by+Fiona+Kogan+%2722

Graphic by Fiona Kogan ’22

When Carter G. Woodson created the idea of Black History Week in 1926, he wanted it to be a week to highlight the accomplishments of Black Americans in a society that undermines them. However, he didn’t want this history to be confined into a week, but eventually, be highlighted year-round. 

This year, Jones has been more involved in recognizing Black History Month. Administration has been lifting up the concerns and demands the Black Coalition addressed in their open letter to the Jones community and fervently promoting Black Coalition events. Teachers have also been highlighting important Black figures and achievements that pertain to their respective fields. While these efforts are impressive and have been well-received, teachers and students want to make sure that these efforts aren’t in vain. The conversations shouldn’t just be reserved for Black History Month and Black History Month only. 

In the classroom, teachers should still be covering Black history from a holistic approach. Students and teachers alike should be made aware of the heinous inequalities the Black community has faced and how those inequalities are still present in society today. At the same time, the focus shouldn’t solely be on the struggles the Black community faces. The content should be equalized with education on Black achievements and debunking false narratives created within European and American history. 

Students should also receive the same training as teachers on different subjects such as microaggressions vs. macroaggressions and how to curb their own discriminatory actions and beliefs. The Jones community needs to maintain the same momentum year-round to uplift Black voices as they do during the month of February. By not following through with an anti-racist agenda, the Jones community would be upholding an empty promise to its own. 

Administration and teachers should put more effort into establishing relationships with their Black students. They shouldn’t just check in with their progress inside the classroom, but outside as well. Fostering these relationships will help create a safe space for Black students where they feel their needs are being met. While action can’t be taken overnight, the Black students and Black teachers in the Jones community should be directly involved in the push for change.