from Janae Peters, Affiliated Consultant with Think Again and Founding Faculty Member in Humanities at Mastery School of Hawken
As an educator, I have come to learn/experience that February is a tough month. In the schools I’ve been in relationship with, it’s a cold, dark month with a ramp up of students making decisions that result in disciplinary consequences and faculty going through the motions of working to bring our best energy inside our classrooms (or through our computers) despite the environments and contexts in which we exist. One bright light in February tends to be celebrations of Blackness throughout space and time in the US and beyond. As an oft neglected aspect of American History, the opportunity to illuminate the names and works of folks who made a way out of no way in this country’s history always feels important and every year it feels to me like a more complex and more enlightening month.
This past year–living in a pandemic, through continued violence against Black bodies at the hands of law enforcement and at the hands of transphobic and homophobic humans, civil unrest and uprisings, continued and compounded need for prison reform, and the constant reminder that the systems and structures of our current society were never meant to serve us–has made Black History Month and Black Futures Month resonate differently. More so than some other years, I have decided to approach this month with renewed intention.
It has felt more important than ever to not just honor the past and acknowledge the present, but to also engage in deep reflection with my Black mind and body to learn more about what I need and desire as it relates to living into a Black future. One of the needs that rises to the top for me is based on an ethic shared with me by one of my mentors, Keshia Williams. That need is to exist, work, commit to action, commit to relationship, and share with others the importance of working within and illuminating for others an ethic of Black Love and Care–something that I found not found to be explicitly celebrated this month, but an ethic whose history is deep, rich and everlasting. That is how I am honoring this month in particular, and then every other month of Black life.
February continues to be a tough month, but being covered in Black Love and Care has made all the difference.