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Black History Month: Leading Us Towards the Future We Want

The Future We Want: Black History Month

Black History can lead us “Towards the Future We Want”. Black History is American history. It's world history. Hickman Mills C-1 Schools celebrates National Black History Month with a rigor towards an inclusive curriculum. The curriculum is everything we do: the content of instruction in the classroom; the people we hire; the range of co-curricular activities; social supports for students; outreach to the community; etc. We hope that someday we are not reliant on Black History Month to emphasize the contributions of Black people and the diaspora. This month is just the opportunity to ignite the discovery of a legendary history.

Our students' understanding of the often-untold contributions of Black people is essential to their development. As HMC-1 students write the stories of their lives, it's informed by the past right here in Kansas City by individuals like Minnie Lee Crosthwaite, one of the first African American social workers in Kansas City who dedicated her time to improving health care for the Black community. Let’s not forget about Thomas Unthank who rose to prominence as a physician and the “father of Kansas City’s Negro hospitals”. Of course, I should mention the poet and Harlem Renaissance influencer, Langston Hughes (he would be on YouTube today), who said, “Hold fast to your dreams, for without them life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly…”

We want our students to feel that soaring to success is progress and absolute perfection is simply an aspiration exemplified by the historians before us. I once saw a student who had a T-shirt that stated, “Whoever said the sky's the limit had no imagination.” What inspiring words out of the mouths of babes! So, let’s reimagine through the lessons of the past a promising future for our youth.

In HMC-1 schools, we are taking action by exposing our students to experiential activities that stimulate their dreams. For example, Truman Elementary School is hosting a Black History Showcase where they have turned the entire school into a Black History Museum so visitors can walk through the building and learn about Black History from student curators.

I challenge our community to think about what we all want the history books to say about the actions we're taking today. Will historians one day write that together, the district, families, and community created an equitable educational school that changed students' lives in the Hickman Mills C-1 School district? Will history say that each day, HMC-1 helped students and families on their life journey?

That is our goal, our vision, and it's only because of the historical trailblazers that we honor during Black History month that we can witness that there is a way. So… I challenge all our community partners to appreciate the accomplishments of history but define how YOU will contribute “Towards the Future We Want”.