Black History Month is our collective reminder to acknowledge and recognize the contributions of Black people to American history and culture. Annually, during this month, we celebrate the accomplishments of Black people while also reflecting on how systems of oppression and harm have often stood in the way of progress. As an organization, it is our duty to acknowledge those who forged the idea and saw the need for Black History Month including, of course, Harvard trained historian, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland, a prominent minister, who founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). ASNLH sponsored a national Negro History week during the second week in February 1926. Kent State University is identified as having the first recorded celebration of Black History Month in 1970.
Today, it is important for us to recognize Black history as American history. And, the accomplishments, advancements, sacrifices, and struggles of Black Americans should not be ignored, misrepresented, or banned, and should be taught fully and truthfully in both secondary and postsecondary institutions.
Black Health and Wellness is the theme for this year’s national recognition. This theme is timely as it is urgently important to NADOHE’s mission. The pandemic has made evident health inequities among Black people in this country, and those inequities impact the physical and mental health and wellness of Black students, faculty, and staff within our colleges and universities. Eliminating health inequities is critical to the success of students and equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts across campuses. We cannot champion inclusive excellence if our students and colleagues don't feel safe or supported. Diverse representation in higher education — including enrollment, hiring, and promotion — must better represent our diverse populations, and equity, diversity, and more just and inclusive campuses and our larger world remains crucial work. As we continue our transformative efforts to advance inclusive excellence, we can not minimize how taxing this work can be, and how important it is to consider our own health and wellbeing as practitioners of this work, too.
We urge you to join our private LinkedIn group as a shared space where you can highlight your successes, best practices, and find community while also highlighting the realities of our very important and meaningful work.
The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) is the preeminent voice for chief diversity officers. As the leader of the national conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion, it investigates, influences, and innovates to transform higher education so that inclusive excellence lives at its core.