By Michelle Lawrence
Black History Month is traditionally a time to reflect on our history which is full of triumph amid centuries of struggle. Although there is no way to avoid the hurt and pain that we have experienced and continue to experience, we need to uplift Black joy and insist on more moments of Trauma-free Blackness to celebrate ourselves and to heal our hearts, bodies, and souls.
Here are Five Ways to Celebrate Black Joy:
- Practice Self-Care
- We carry centuries of generational trauma, which makes self-care an integral part of Black well-being. My colleague and I wrote this blog about self-care to help people navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, but the resources in the post are relevant to use at any time. Read our self-care post here.
- Get Children Involved
- “Black children need to see themselves reflected in the world around them, inviting a true sense of belonging and cultural pride. Black joy means embracing and appreciating Blackness in its authenticity and fullness, which is critical to instilling a healthy sense of identity in Black children.” Read more here.
- Spread Black Joy to the Entire Community, That Means Everyone
- Many Black members of the LGBTQIA+ community may feel excluded, but they are integral to our history and are deserving of joy. Actress Dalila Ali Rajah launched Black Queer Joy, which showcases images of Black LGBTQIA+ people around the world in moments of pure joy. Unity Talks is a series for Gay Times designed to create a space that brings us together and enables us to learn and grow as a community.
- In addition, we need to include differently-abled people. “Identities like disability are often left out of the dominant narrative during Black History Month and beyond. It’s important to see authentic representations of ourselves across all the different intersections that make up one’s identity, separately and as a whole.” Read more about the power of Black disabled representation during Black History Month here.
- Learn About Black Creatives and Artists
- Black artists, musicians, and creatives in general power movements. This extensive site explores just a few of the important Black figures who have made an impact on the history of the United States through their creative processes.
- If you love art, ‘Black Art: In the Absence of Light,’ is an HBO documentary that explores two centuries of art by African Americans. You can also click here to learn about contemporary Black artists who are getting the recognition they deserve.
- “While the film industry still has a long way to go in creating space for Black women to tell their distinct stories without compromise, these 20 films not only celebrate Black women but offer a platform for so many different types of Black female characters to come to life.” These 20 movies celebrate Black women and all their talents.
- Celebrate Black Healers and Innovators
- The victim services field has been largely dominated by white people due to systemic inequality. That means we need to celebrate the significant contributions that Black people made to the victim services field by two-fold. Click here to learn about the three women who changed the landscape for survivors of childhood trauma.