February is Black History Month and though I have respected it, I'm embarrassed to say I haven't ever participated. Mimi's school (which is truly multi-cultural, and mostly African American) embraces the occasion to really celebrate this month.... It's exciting to see her learning from the perspective of her African American teacher and I love knowing that her teacher can teach things we cannot. Our life is very mulit-cultural. I was always a minority in every school I went to up until college. Our neighbors do not look like us, but they embrace us and we are surrounded by people that help us to see outside of ourselves.
I've been reading "Same Kind of Different as Me" and I took a detour and just powered through "The Help." I'm proud to read books like these; books about change, progress and paradigm shifts from a very checkered and embarrassing past. It's important to remember that just a few years ago, things were still REALLY bad. *Oh, and another amazing book I read a few years ago is this abridged (though not short!) version of Nelson Mandela's Autobiography. * Times have changed, but there still is a long way to go. I'm writing this from what many people consider "the hood" - the church that holds the preschool my son attends was the first church in Los Angeles to integrate. MLK Jr himself used to visit there regularly in the height of the civil rights wars. I don't live far from where the riots occurred in LA during my senior year in high school - things are definitely changing, but we are foolish to think that everything is hunk dory. I have race issues that play themselves out on my front lawn. (Don't think that I am kidding about this, I mean literally on my front lawn). Two of the six people who live in my home are African American. I can't pretend this is not a part of my world.
I'm not saying that the entire month of February needs to be a focus on one thing... Valentine's Day and my Leap Year Un-birthday are also in this month, too... but I think from now on, I am going to try and read at least one book on Black History every February. I've also been talking to some of my neighborhood activists about what I can do - and what we can do as a family to support those in our community who need an extra lift.
I encourage you to pray about what you can do. Or maybe, just read a book that opens your heart.