Celebrate Black Culture

I don’t know what to say. I want to have the “right” thing to say, but I don’t know what that is. I am not black and so I don’t know what it feels like to be black. Even though I have black friends that I listen to and respect tremendously, I am still not understanding exactly how I should be responding to all of this. 

I don’t like controversy at all and sometimes this is controversial. I like to celebrate differences, I like to see the beauty of differences in people. I don’t like to see hate, I don’t like to see violence and I don’t like to see racism. It just hurts me inside.

It’s okay to feel anger, we all do, but it’s not okay to it turn to rage or hate. First, you have to deal with your own anger, use music or exercise to change that anger and rage. Or maybe even talk to trusted friends or family members where you know you can speak openly.

Once you have dealt with any anger you may have, then you can open your heart to spread love, not hate. Love and joy are contagious and it changes people for the better. As teachers, I know this is what we want for our students.

So in this blog and podcast episode, I want to celebrate all the amazing black people who have made such a difference in our world. People like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Jacqueline Woodson, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Yvonne Darlene Cagle, Victor J. Glover, Rebecca Crumpler, Jane C. Wright, Charles R. Drew (Thanks to his work discovering Plasma can replace whole blood transfusions, my own son benefited!) This list could be so very very very long. Not to mention those who are NOT famous and have touched many lives in profound ways. I think my list there would be even longer. It’s not just about honoring those who have made a name for themselves, it’s about celebrating the fact that all people are capable of bringing good and the color of their skin doesn’t change that. You get my point…I hope!

As a teacher here are some things you CAN do even when you don’t know what to do: 

  1. Stop and listen to what the world is trying to tell us. Sometimes we are very quick to respond without listening first. You may have some black students or families who need your ear, who need your help. Be there to listen. 
  2. Celebrate those black lives who have touched you in some beautiful way. Celebrate black lives in your classroom – not just during black history month but as an equal celebration in your classroom. The links below will take you to many resources, lessons, and activities you can use in your classroom to celebrate black culture.
  3. It sounds simple in theory but apparently it’s not happening yet. Give every child the same opportunities and the respect to learn in their own ways. Don’t give up on them because you don’t understand their culture. Don’t assume that you do understand their culture because you are black also. Just Be there and keep trying to show every child that you believe in them.  If you don’t think it’s working, think again. Your effort and your support of learning mean more than anything to children. Just because you don’t understand the black culture or any culture, doesn’t mean you avoid it. It means you open up your heart to respect and celebrate what you see. 

Lessons to celebrate black culture

Activities that celebrate black culture

Resources for black culture celebrations

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