Legal Aid Statement on Black History Month

The Legal Aid Society released the following statement today for Black History Month.

“This month marks a time where black and African American people all over the world are praised for their accomplishments in activism, education, and social justice reform. Unfortunately, these accomplishments were mostly ignored throughout most of our nation’s history; the great triumphs of the black communities were largely left out of history books until the 20th century. In the 1920s, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a prominent black scholar, vowed to repair the erasure of the black narrative from American history. He, along with members of his community, dedicated their lives to telling the stories of their people that had been purposely ignored or misrepresented. They began to fill in the gaps of black history and culture by writing stories in journals. These journals are now widely known as the Journal of African American Studies. In 1926, he organized the first annual week dedicated to celebrating the black community. In 1976, Black History Month was designated an annual observance of the achievements of the black community by President Gerald Ford.

After decades of exclusion from history books, we now have a month dedicated to commemorating the positive accomplishments and sacrifices that black people have made to effectuate and empower change. Every year, The Legal Aid Society recognizes Black History Month as a time to honor the contributions made by our black and African American employees and their community. We celebrate the history, culture, and activism of a resilient and powerful community whose members drive change in every aspect of the work we do. We vow to remain vigilant to the hardships they endure: institutional racism, police brutality, racial profiling, anti-black rhetoric, and disparate sentencing. These are issues that Legal Aid fights against day in and day out with the help of our colleagues and community members. As an organization, we will continue to demand racial justice and equality for black communities. We will also continue to focus on the triumphs and the struggles after this month so that we consistently honor the black communities with the recognition they deserve.”