Black History Month was always a signal in my formative home that Black History is year-round. The celebration of Black life, brilliance, resiliency, determination, creativity, ingenuity, joy, laughter, and embodiment were the bedrocks of my formation. More recently, I have come to acknowledge the depth and breadth of what it means to embody Blackness and the fullness therein. BHM is a time to recall on triumphs and trials of my ancestors, their lives, their beauty, and their foundations. It means a time to bring to light all the nuances and layers to living in Black skin while holding in tension the ways in which all Black lives matter. As a Queer Black woman, I have taken the time to delve deeply into the contributions and activism of my Queer Black ancestors, to which I have found much to be thankful for. Black History month, to me, is ritual. It is a designated time to honor, with reverence, the lives that have made this life more bearable with more joy and hope for the future.
I celebrate BHM through reverence of the ancestors that have gone before me. During the month I take special care to be in conversation with them while participating, in my own small way, in the activism they began. I re-read my favorite Black authors and find new ones to carry me throughout the year. I gaze upon Black art from Black creators. I ground myself in the teachings of great scholars, those I am familiar with and those I am not. BHM is a time to recalibrate myself towards Black creativity and wonder.
I would like the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to honor BHM in ways that celebrate Black life and ingenuity, not just the struggle. We are more than one thing. I would like the church to recognize the Black influence of our history as a denomination and revel in the beauty of our faith formation. As Disciples we know we are so much more than our pain, that is part of what makes us such a beautiful tradition.
Dr. Tomeka Jacobs, CST/DSF graduate (Ph.D./2022)
Note from Editor: In honor of Black History Month, DSF has invited board members, students, and graduates to share their reflections on this annual celebration. Each of them has been asked to answer the following three questions:
1. What does Black History Month mean to you?
2. How do you/your church celebrate Black History Month?
3. How would you like our Church to honor Black History Month?
We invite you to take a little bit of time out of your day to join us in reflection.