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Mercy Home Kids Reflect On Black History Month
As Mercy Home’s Black History Month celebrations come to a close, our boys and girls—a majority of whom are African American—reflect back on an empowering month of cultural dialogues and activities that enlightened the past to inform their present and inspire their future.
All month long, our kids participated in door-decorating contests and Black-history themed scavenger hunts, while writing poems, songs, and skits to perform at a virtual jubilee in celebration of Black identity. This year’s grand finale was the annual soul food dinner, capped off with an online watch party of the jubilee to accommodate COVID-19 safety measures.
But beyond the festivities, deeper conversations were at play. Our kids learned about pacifism and the philosophy of nonviolent resistance as they read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” They learned about tolerance while familiarizing themselves with lesser known civil rights figures like Bayard Rustin. Older kids took part in virtual discussions on mental health, healing, recovery, and resilience—led by courageous leaders in the Black community.
Immersing themselves in the history of the civil rights movement, our young people reflected on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and his famous quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Imagining King was alive today, they asked themselves: What would he be most proud of? What would he be most disappointed by? Would he approve of how we treat each other today?
As our boys and girls go forth, shaping a more inclusive future filled with representation and equality, they’ve drawn upon what they learned over the last month to expand their perspective, as a broad and clear view of the big picture comes into focus.
“It is important to note that Black history is 365 days per year, not just one month,” said 18-year-old Noah, who’s lived at Mercy Home for over four years. “I think it’s important to not designate it for just one month because I’m Black all the time. We should be educated on Black history every day.”
Words speak for themselves. So below, we’d like to share more reflections on Black History Month, courtesy of Mercy Home’s vibrant boys and girls—the leaders of tomorrow.
“Black History Month is important because we need to recognize our leaders who fought for our freedom.” – Elijah
“To me, Black History Month means celebrating those who paved the way so we can have a better future.” – Robert
“Black History Month is important because it’s a time to honor Black culture and progress over the centuries.” – Khalid
“We continue progressing towards inclusion and equality by fighting for more equal rights and speaking our minds. The strongest thing someone can have is a voice and the knowledge to know what they’re talking about.” – Tyler
“My black ancestors paved the way for me to become an entrepreneur or engineer. So the future—the next generation from me—can and will be smarter than me. I am Black history!” – Makell
“It’s important to recognize that that Black people contributed heavily to our everyday life.” -Alejandra
“Black History Month made me see how others [set goals to see their wishes come true]. I want to be a lawyer.” – Mari
“Because of Black History Month, I want to make my generation better.”
“Black History Month impacted my outlook and goals by showing me that many things need to happen in order to make our future bright.” – Jamiyah
“Black History Month gives me faith that things will get better. It also taught me to advocate for myself.” – Lupe
“I learned about the colors that represent Black History Month and the importance of representation in our communities.” – Lali
Stop racism by treating everyone equally, by respecting each other. We should talk to elders from different cultures and religions.” – Alvaro
“Black History Month has had a good impact on me. It makes me want to be part of change and stand up for equity.” – Cade
“Black History Month made a big impact on my life and my goals. It really helps me understand my background and my history.” – A’Naiya
“Black History Month is important because it teaches me about my heritage. Learning about the past and what my ancestors went through, and how powerful they were, makes me proud to be a Black man. I learned that my people had to endure a lot. It’s a symbol that we can get through anything.” – Wayland