Feb. 1, 2023
Sarah Keeling, Ph.D.
NACA Director of Education & Research
February is Black History Month
and a time to celebrate Black contributions to society. The theme for
2023 is "Black
This theme was chosen
due to the rise in voter suppression and
the efforts to eliminate the teaching Black history.
“African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms, and police killings” since they were
brought to this country and enslaved.
This resistance has taken many forms, including insurrections,
the creation of Black faith institutions and cultural centers,
and spiritual expression, and education, including the establishment of
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History stated that “This is a call to everyone, inside and outside the academy, to study the history of Black Americans’ responses to establish safe spaces, where Black life can be sustained, fortified, and respected.”
This call from ASALH was starkly highlighted by the recent, brutal murder of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee. Many American systems are built on white supremacy, and, in addition, white supremacy characteristics are internalized by those who work within these systems. Our systems of government and higher education are two systems that can have far-reaching impact on daily lives. We all must learn to hold space during times like these, understanding that our Black peers/colleagues/students may be struggling. We must also work to understand the characteristics of white supremacy while envisioning and building new, equitable systems. Resisting white supremacy
occurs when systems give people what they need so that they can do their best work, recognizing that BIPOC have different needs than their white colleagues. It calls for consistent anti-racist actions to upend systemic racism. Actions include using social power, establishing long-term commitments, and redirecting resources to meet these specific needs. (Perry, 2022. P. 28)
Learn more about Black Resistance here and further explore names or events with which you are unfamiliar.
References not linked above:
Perry, R. (2020). Imagine belonging. Publish Your Purpose.
Sarah Keeling, Ph.D. serves as director of Education & Research for the National Association for Campus Activities and has over 20 years of higher education experience. Her doctorate in higher education administration is from the University of South Carolina.