Black History is American History. During Black History Month we are encouraged to take time to reflect on the achievements and contributions of Black Americans. As well, it is important to expand our appreciation for the substantial and ongoing impact of slavery and how even northern states, including Connecticut, benefited from the enslavement of Black people. Raising awareness is meant to contribute to our understanding of how our laws and policies have targeted and excluded Black people, preventing them from accessing opportunity, building wealth and participating in our democracy. As we become more aware, we learn where and how the vestiges of slavery and racism continue to be felt today. We can see where changes are still needed to ensure that all people have the opportunity to develop, find fulfillment and share their unique gifts.
With these goals in mind, the Black Lives Matter committee, a member committee of the Social Justice Council, encourages you to stop by our Banned Book cart this month, which includes Caste: The Origins of our Discontents (Isabel Wilkerson), The 1619 Project (Nikole Hannah-Jones) and Stamped (for kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You (Ibram X. Kendi). We also suggest checking out Anti-Racism Daily, which, in addition to a daily post throughout the year, features a special daily edition during February. Last, we invite you to consider attending community programs to learn more about slavery in Connecticut and the North. This Thursday, February 16, the Mark Twain House is offering a virtual program featuring a discussion with David Montero, author of The Stolen Wealth of Slavery, A Case for Reparations. In his book, Montero follows the trail of the massive wealth amassed by Northern corporations…what was stolen, who stole it, and to whom it is owed. This program is being co-hosted with The Amistad Center for Art & Culture and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.
Building awareness is a precursor to empathy and an inspiration for action. We invite you to join us.