February is Black History Month. President Gerald Ford recognized this event in 1976 and by doing so, asked all Americans to pause and take special notice of the extraordinary contributions of Black and African American people to our culture and to our society. As a school, The Academy is proud to integrate this recognition into our lives.
This year we have chosen to use words. Rhetoric and gifted rhetoricians have the power to reach through time and culture and to teach, to inspire, to incite, to calm, and to focus our thinking. Our imagination can be stirred by rhetoric, and we can be made to feel pride or shame.
Rather than having myself or others speak about the influence Black Americans have had throughout time, this month we take time during each Morning Meeting to share the words of Black and African Americans, in their own voices. Some voices reach out from the past to remind us of where we were; some, from the present to remind us where we are. Some elevate us while others challenge us. Some praise while others castigate.
In a school dedicated to helping students to find their own voices, I can think of no better way to honor the spirit of Black History Month than by presenting authentic voices for our students to consider. Some readings come from staff, others from students. Daily readings will be posted on our Facebook page. As with all lessons, the event of a reading has little power compared to a conversation about that reading. Words, indeed, have the power to create meaning and movement, but we, in turn, must do something. Please take the time to talk with your child about the readings they hear, discuss their relevance or importance in 2017, and decide what, if any, stake you have in the ongoing quest for justice and equality amongst all people.