I love February for a bunch of reasons—chief among them is Valentine’s Day, Black History Month, and Presidents Day. We had two holidays last month, now here’s another opportunity to celebrate.
Valentine’s Day next week is a gentle reminder to show love and care all year. Those heart shaped boxes speak volumes, but nothing compares to well-placed affirmations on a Thursday in October long after February 14 has come and gone. I’m not knocking big name candy companies but I’m campaigning for a made to order box filled with miniatures of all my favorites so I don’t have to poke holes to see what’s inside the assembled assorteds.
Speaking of hearts, this month is an excellent time to check on yours. I can’t and won’t even begin to try to explain this beautiful, precious, and amazing thing that gives us life, but getting it checked is a good use of your time and effort. All kinds of things affect your heart’s perfect rhythm and function so if you have a history of heart ailments, are stressed from work or just plain ol’ living, pay attention.
February is Black History Month and whenever it rolls around my mind reverts to elementary school and the bulletin boards with construction paper cut outs of historical figures like Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman. It was called Negro History Week then and those five days were busy with assembly programs, learning recitations, and extra history lessons.
That week evolved into Black History Month and now includes programming and advertisements to highlight the accomplishments of African American entertainers, inventors, and pioneers. The month is not designed to say one group’s history is more important than another’s—rather the opposite is true.
February is an excellent opportunity to lift up facts, figures, and folks whose accomplishments sometimes get left on the cutting room floor, ignored, forgotten, distorted, or simply aren’t deemed important or significant. Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman and the happy slaves showed up every time in our history books — until I read a biography of Booker T. Washington, Dr. W.E. B DuBois, and Ida B. Wells Barnett, I had no clue what these brave folks had done or why they were historically significant.
History is what the person writing it says it is and as governors and others work to rewrite what really happened in the past and how it will be recorded and taught, we see facts are powerful. Since historians can’t/don’t record every landmark case, leader, and “awkward” detail, it’s critical that historical accounts be more inclusive and situationally accurate so school children and the rest of us can know, understand, and contextualize the “rest of the story.”
We are all Americans, whether by choice or circumstance, and we want/need to see ourselves reflected and celebrated– this month gives us that opportunity. There may never come a time when we say history and everybody shows up and is celebrated, but working towards that and knowing about the shoulders we stand on is important.
Finally, as we prepare for Presidents Day, let’s begin a time of intentional prayer for President Joe Biden and his cabinet. At this juncture it doesn’t matter whether you voted for him or not—his decisions and actions affect you. The decisions and actions of our presidential allies and enemies do too.
Today I’m praying for our leaders, communities, and families, and hoping love, tolerance, patience, compassion, and kindness are the common heartbeat that pushes us forward in 2023. Please join me–we’re in this thing together and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
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