24 Feb M+M celebrates heritage and culture during Black History Month
BY: BREANA BACON AND MIKA BILLINS
Every month is Black History Month.
Why? Because Black people don’t just make history, they are history. From the invention of the three-light traffic signal to the creation of peanut butter, Black lives and Black culture permeate our society.
When we celebrate Black History Month, we’re acknowledging the world-changing impact Black people have on the past, present and future.
Last month, in addition to honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., more moments in Black history were solidified. Rev. Raphael Warnock became the first Black Senator to represent the state of Georgia in the United States Senate and Kamala Harris becoming the first woman, first Black and first South Asian-American to be sworn in as Vice President of the United States. These servant-leaders have broken down barriers and inspired others, especially those who look like them.
Outside of those achievements, those three leaders are also alumni of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and members of the historically Black Greek-letter organizations of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. (NPHC).
Dr. King was and Senator Warnock is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and Vice President Harris is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Methods+Mastery is proud to have team members who are also part of the NPHC. I’m a diversity fellow who’s a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and I work with a junior analyst, Breana, who’s a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
For Black History Month, Breana and I are sharing what Black History Month means to us and how our sororities influence our daily lives.
There are so many layers to being Black in America. I feel like for our whole existence here, we’ve been oppressed and knocked down. So, it’s important for me to have a sense of pride and celebration for being Black. I first learned about Black history from my family, not school. My grandparents are 93 and 89 years old. They’ve experienced a lot in their lifetimes, and to hear their stories and then live my own is incredible. It’s also important for me to live with grace, pride, and joy at all times.
There’s this saying in the Black community, “I’m my ancestors’ wildest dreams,” and it’s so true! To know that at my age, my grandfather didn’t look at a white woman out of fear of being killed, but now I can marry whoever I love, regardless of ethnicity. It’s amazing.
My sorority has also taught me about Black history. It was founded in 1908 by women who were one generation removed from slavery but recognized their privilege to be college-trained women of color. For over a century, AKA has been committed to serving others and advocating for social change, and by learning my sorority’s history, I feel a responsibility to continue its legacy of servant-leadership by serving my community and advocating for those who may not have a voice.
This year, trailblazing leaders like Vice President Harris have me not only excited to celebrate Black history, but Black women in history.
I’m so incredibly proud of being a Black woman and the dynamic and powerful history that is behind that identity. Every day is a day for Black History, but I’m always excited for Black History Month because it gives me a chance to learn about my culture and educate others on it, too.
Service has also been a huge part of my life since I was very young. As a kid, my mom would bring me to community service projects with her, and as I got older, I found an organization that I was passionate about doing service with. That love of service is celebrated by my membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – a historically Black organization founded on the pillars of Sisterhood, Scholarship and Service.
Through Delta, I am able to take part in chapter and sorority-wide events and projects that serve my community and the world at large. My dedication to public service and giving back to my community is fostered in Delta and also at Methods+Mastery.
At Methods+Mastery, our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion goes beyond a statement. We’re committed to amplifying the voices of our team and recognizing the triumphs and trials of those around us. As President Barack Obama once said, “Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history…It’s about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America.” So we ask you – no matter your ethnicity or race – how do you honor and celebrate those who have contributed to history?
*The NPHC, also referred to as the Divine 9, is composed of nine organizations – Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (ΑΦΑ), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (ΑΚΑ), Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (ΚΑΨ), Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (ΩΨΦ), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (ΔΣΘ), Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (ΦΒΣ), Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (ΖΦΒ), Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. (ΣΓΡ), Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. (ΙΦΘ).