The Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice welcomes The New School community to Black History Month 2021. The origins of Black History Month date back to 1915, with Carter G. Woodson’s participation in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the proclaimed emancipation of enslaved African people in the United States. Woodson and others formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, with a current mission to “promote, research, preserve, interpret, and disseminate information about Black Life, history, and culture to the global community. That work evolved into what is now known as Black History Month.
We enter into Black History Month 2021 at a time of significant turmoil and transition within the United States and throughout the world. The systemic disparities and inequities that Black people experience are, for example, acutely displayed in the disproportionately high death rates and disproportionately low vaccine inoculation rates in the COVID 19 global health pandemic. Black History Month 2021 also enters at a time of great hope and aspiration as communities continue the struggle for equity and social justice that are manifest in many forms, from grassroots organizing to electoral politics to institutional change.
This dichotomy of struggle and hope are as old as the Black experience in America, and endemic to its many institutions. The New School is no exception as we strive to discern and address inequities and any vestiges of anti-Blackness within the student, staff, and faculty experience. We come to this Black History Month open and ready to address our challenges, as we advance inclusion and social justice within our policies, practices, and structures.
And while the dichotomies exist, we recognize that Black history, Black culture, Black joy, and Black love are defined by beauty, strength, and a complexity that is humanity. And therefore this Black History Month we extend to you an invitation.
We welcome you to join the events presented this month, to gather together online in community and support, and to look back upon the cycles of history to understand the present and plan for the future.
We invite you to add books, film, and other media to our list of resources.
Members of the New School community are also encouraged to sign up for the Black History Month 2022 Planning Committee.
We invite you to join us in honor of Black History Month 2021 at The New School as we build a tradition of honoring and celebrating Black culture, history, and lives year round.