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Black History Month 2023

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2023

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Cultivating Joy in the Fight for Democracy 

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Since 1976 Americans have taken time in February to celebrate Black History Month. Black History Month is an essential acknowledgement of the contribution and unique African American identity that continues to shape our culture as a nation. 

Voting rights is an essential part of Black history. Our work at Civic Influencers rests on the foundation of past Black scholars and activists, such as Angela Y. Davis, John Lewis, Ida B. Wells, and Martin Luther King Jr. Many of these activists started organizing in their youth. John Lewis organized sit-ins as a college student and became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at only 23. So while our history has been led by individuals who have become icons, the hard work of positive change for the Black Community has been carried by  young leaders. So while recognizing the impact of our ancestors, we are also lifted by the new generation of young leaders like Zendaya, Marley Dias, Amanda Gorman or even the first Gen Z Congressman, Maxwell Frost.  Civic Influencers recognizes the power that youth hold, and that’s why we’re dedicated to training hundreds of young people across the country. 

It is easy to agree that the work to recognize the contribution of the black community is necessary, but some may ask, in the time in which we live, “Is there room for Black Joy?”

There are attacks on Blackness across the nation. In Florida, the Governor is leading an effort that is purging their AP African American studies’ curriculum. Over 24 states have introduced some form of anti-critical race theory legislation,  aiming to eliminate the knowledge of Black joy, feminism, queerness, and radicalism, and on the first day of Black History Month, the nation mourned the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of the Memphis Police Department.  These events are grim, but while many of us have prepared ourselves to fight the good fight, that struggle will be for nothing if we do not also cultivate the tools and resources we need to survive the struggle. Despite the heartache, trauma, and loss, Black people continue to persevere and find community.

  • As we speak truth to power, we must empower those that believe in inclusion and justice.
  • As we challenge racism and exclusion, let us also rejoice in the creativity and resilience of our ancestors.
  • As we demand better lives for everyone, let us remember what is worth living for. 

This Black History Month, let’s reflect on the ways that joy has shown up on the path of resistance. Highlighting this joy doesn’t diminish the atrocities that Black people face daily. Instead it demonstrates another powerful aspect of resistance and collectivity. 

At Civic Influencers, our vision is to be joyous and relentless in our pursuit of civic and voting power to secure democracy, love, and happiness for future generations. We invite all who believe in these values to join us in the joyous celebration of Black History Month and beyond. Black joy is diverse. Black joy is love. Black joy is knowledge. 

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Music has always played a large part in Black communities. During the Civil Rights Movement, music served both as a connector and motivator during protests, meetings, and in churches. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is known as the Black National Anthem. It was a poem written by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900 and later used as a rallying cry during the 1950s and 1960s.

Check out our Black History Month Spotify playlist for more amazing tunes. Let us know if there are songs you’d like to be included!

  • Make a video sharing why serving your community can be a part of Black Joy and tag Civic Influencers  
  • During Black History Month, we not only learn about the Contributions of African Americans but also frame how those experiences affect American history. During February, listen to ‘1619,’ a Podcast From The New York Times 
  • Sign up for our Motivote team to stay informed and get registered to vote!
  • Learn about the unique and important connection between Black and Disability History at African Americans and the disABILITY Experience
  • Share the story of Claudia Gordon, the first deaf black female attorney in the United States  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lMtaZ3uoNg&t=841s   
  • Read through NAACP’s Action Center and participate in a campaign. 

 

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North Carolina Civic Influencers rallying outside the Supreme Court to defend Affirmative Action, October 2022

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