Our histories are in our DNA. And some scientists would say that this is actually physiologically true! Minimally, though, much from the past has been subconsciously passed down through the generations. So, for example, learning more about my family history can possibly help me better understand my own patterns of functioning in the here-and-now.
In the same way, the history of various cultures is woven into our own American history. And I believe these histories have shaped us. Knowing how we’ve been culturally “wired” can help me make better, informed choices about my actions as a citizen of this country in the present moment.
Personally, I’m convinced that despite years of much hard-won progress, there is still much work to be done toward racial healing in our beloved country. And I ask myself:
How can I make a difference?
What am I called to do to help move the needle toward healing and progress?
I’m realizing that it’s not just a question of: What can our institutions do to promote progress?
It’s increasingly about: What can I do right now?
For me, objective awareness is the starting place. And the focus of Black History Month is one way to bring details and data to the table. I ask: What are the specifics of history – Who? What? Where? When? How?
By starting with the data (as best as I can know them) I believe that I am on more solid footing for the journey. By exploring history, I can see a little better where I fit into the picture, where I need to grow, and how I might move forward as a contributor to the culture that all of us are creating.