Celebrating Black History Month
February is Black History Month, a time to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Black Americans. It is also an opportunity for self-reflection and education on issues relating to race and equity. The man behind Black History Month is Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a historian who dedicated his life to educating African Americans about the achievements and contributions of their ancestors. In February 1926, Woodson sent out a press release announcing the first Negro History Week. He chose February because the month contained the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two prominent men whose historic achievements African Americans already celebrated. In 1976, on the 50th anniversary of the first Negro History Week, the shift was officially made to Black History Month.
We are proud to have an inclusive workforce and workplace culture that aligns with our overall mission and values. I encourage you to take the time this month to learn about, and reflect on, the many people who have inspired us and have made significant marks on history with their artistry, professional achievements, and community activism. The very foundation of our mission is to recognize, celebrate and give a a voice to groups of people who have been largely marginalized, oppressed, and under-valued. The Arc Westchester is very proud to be part of The Arc New York’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee.
This is a fitting time to recognize two Black Americans whose advocacy has had a lasting positive effect on the lives of people with developmental disabilities. We invite you to learn more about Mrs. Willie Mae Goodman and Chester Finn. Their advocacy for disability rights offers a unique perspectives that all of us can learn from.
You may also be interested to read some wonderful articles this month that can be found on RespectAbility, an organization dedicated to fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities.
Several activities are taking place at many of our locations commemorating this special month. Program participants at Hawthorne highlighted African American inventors through displays and posters!