Start your new journey in Black History Month

Once we identify something that we deem to be both important and necessary, we begin to plan and to strategize around the objective of making our project successful.
First we make the project relevant then we make it happen.
In that context, there are a few basic questions we need to ask ourselves about Black History Month.
What is the purpose of Black History Month?
Why do we need a new journey?
How do we make Black History Month work for us and for others?
The answer to that first question is straightforward. Black History Month (BHM) is intended to recognize the achievements and struggles of people of African descent; to remind ourselves of the need to invest our time, energy and talents to promote and inspire our Black community all year around; and to emphasize the importance of carrying out those objectives in a positive, proactive and expansive manner for the particular benefit our Black youth and our future generations.
In that regard, the worsening of the economic and socio-economic situation in today’s world pushes us to answer the second question by stressing how much the realities of that worsening situation affect our Black communities more strongly than they affect other communities in Canada.
Those negative realities include high levels of unemployment, under-employment, and precarious employment (temporary, short-term or contract work with low pay, few or no benefits and little or no possibility of future employment). We are also more vulnerable to generalized socio-economic marginalization.
In response to those harsh realities, we need to plan and strategize for a new journey aimed at overcoming the increased challenges we face. And Black History Month has to be made to play a strategic role in this journey.
That strategic role leads us to the answer for the third question, namely the issue of making Black History Month work for us and for other members of our Black community. A practical example of how this can be done can is to combine the broad objectives of Black History Month as outlined above with at least one entrepreneurial project and at least one special volunteer project.
With respect to those broad objectives, we need to set up some more concrete activities for Black History Month, such as special volunteer projects. One cannot emphasize enough the material, symbolic and inspirational benefits of repairing and upgrading a community centre, a home for seniors or a homeless shelter.
All parties directly involved and Canadian society as a whole will support such a project and Black History Month will enjoy a high level of public and official acceptance for its contribution to the common good.
The common good will also be better served if we establish a structured series of public education programs and fora to create greater and wider knowledge of the history of the Black community. The knowledge gap in the wider community and lack of inter-generational awareness within the Black community are unacceptable.
Another specialized need can be met by organizing an ongoing program of education on Canada’s economic, political, constitutional and parliamentary history as the background and context for a proper understanding of the current situation and challenges of our Black community. This approach will ensure that potential solutions can be explored in a more rational and relevant context.
For entrepreneurial projects, we need small groups of motivated persons to set up business ventures that satisfy three objectives: create sources of revenue that are sound and sustainable; to leave our community in a better financial condition than we found it; and to start a cash flow that will continue with passive income and will grow for the benefit of our children and our grandchildren.
Let us read, educate ourselves, take up at least one business activity and mobilize others to make it their business to develop their own business.
Moving from “we” to “you”, here is how you can start your individual journey in Black History Month.
As an individual, take yourself beyond the bounds of your own cultural, religious or ethnic community. In your social and professional life, never limit your potential to your own community.
Lead your community to build social, cultural, and activist bridges with other communities around you.
Make Canada’s diverse communities stronger than the sum of their parts.
In that attitude of sharing and inclusiveness, make Black History Month serve as a ladder, not a wall. Take it into other communities and bring other communities into it.
Self-love in the Black community is a prescription for the greater uplifting of all communities.
Blackness shines most beautifully when it is inclusive and shared with others.