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Is Black History Month Relevant in the Age of Obama? A OneWorld Teen Forum

OneWorld's Black History Month Civic Engagement Topic:
Is Black History Month Relevant in the Age of Obama?

 A Critical-Thinking Teen Forum with Black High School Students

We express our gratitude to Professor Antoinette Brim, Capital Community College, Monica Joyner, asst. principal at Career High, and John Hanna, counselor at Hamden High, for their help with OneWorld's Black History Month program held on 2/28/13.

Last night (2/28/13) OneWorld hosted a BHM conversation with six high school students.  The topic was: Is Black History Month Relevant in the Age of Obama? The students said yes; they also said:

1) They would like to see the things they are learning during BHM be incorporated into the education curriculum throughout the school year and not be restricted to one month.
2)  The y would like to see BHM updated and be made contemporary.  Discuss with them Black people who are overcoming obstacles today. Share with them stories of young people who are overcoming obstacles and achieving goals.
3) While they appreciate knowing about Dr. King and Mrs. Parks, tell them about Dominique Dawes and Gabby Douglass; discuss with them contemporary issues affecting Black people.
4) Stop treating them like babies as they try to prepare to face the world. Share today's realities with them; don't assume they know.

One student said that at her school BHM was observed as a single assembly.  While they learn much during such an assembly, it does gives the impression that such achievements are limited.
They agreed 100 percent that we are not living in a post-racial America. They pointed to the Trayvon Martin case as evidence that young Black men are in danger not only from each other but also from law enforcement and from non-blacks who think Black men are suitable targets.

An important take-away:  The students are hopeful that if they do well academically, show respect for themselves and others, and have focused goals, they can achieve great personal success.  They want to have successful careers and healthy families.  Thanks to Alexandria, Charles, Damien, Danee, Kayla and Myles for their participation.  We wish them great success in academics and life.

We think it is important that we keep the conversation going.

Learn more by visiting OneWorld's web at:  See:   

Visit the Maynard Institute (a good BH resource) linked below to learn more:

Black History Month | Literacy Calendar | Reading Rockets 

Black History Month Teaching/Learning Resources:
  • African American History Month - This is a Great Resource by the Library of Congress
    This site, hosted by the Library of Congress, has a wealth of information about Black History Month and the contributions of Black Americans. From photos of the Harlem Renaissance to the Tuskegee airmen (and more), you will find much to learn and talk about with your child.

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