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Black History Month: A Month-long Celebration with Lasting Implications

Black History Month

North Florida Family Home program staff wanted to make this year's Black History Month a very special event. Family Home Director Desmond Crayton shared that he believes Black History Month “should be recognized as a crucial opportunity to broaden our youth's knowledge and help them see how the past connects with their lives today -- and how it has inspired movements for change." Family Home Consultant Destiny Story took charge of organizing the month's activities with help from educational assistants Giulia Demello and Wayne Longley.

To kick off Black History Month, North Florida had an event with the Family Home youth with food catered by a black owned business, G & G BBQ. Executive Director Marcus Lampkin talked to the youth about how the site intended to honor Black History Month this year. Also present was special guest, BTNFL employee Monica Smart-Gainous. Monica was recently named recipient of the 2021 Cherry Hall Alexander African American Calendar Award for her work with families in the community. Monica shared the history of Black History recognition and how it has evolved over the years into what is now known as Black History Month. 

Throughout this month, the site remembered and recognized important people and events in African American history and America's history. ART Town Academy youth also got to hear and see from local chapters of Fraternities and Sororities about the art and history of Stepping and their brotherhoods/sisterhoods.

Different regional foods were celebrated as each home created a dish from their designated region. The month ended with a cultural celebration and living museum on campus. Each home had a living museum presented by the youth of both a historical and modern-day figure for all others to hear about during a walk around campus. The Browning home represented Jackie Robinson, Louis Armstrong, while the Carters represented Jay Z & Beyoncé. The Dunn home represented Madam C.J. Walker, The Obamas, and Huey P. Newton. The Lang home represented Chadwick Boseman, Halle Berry, and Angela Davis. The Mackley home represented Queen Latifah, Aretha Franklin, and Amanda Gorman. The Jones home represented Tupac, Nelson Mandela, and Bob Marley.

The end of the month event was truly spectacular! FHP Consultant Destiny Story created a vision board with pictures of all current African American youth pictured as their future selves in their future careers. The youth especially enjoyed getting to visualize their own excellence in the future. When asked about her inspiration for the planning for the month, Destiny shared, “We are the change we are waiting for. In this environment, one of most important things we can do is empower our youth, they are the future. They are who we are going to pass the batons to someday. Our focus was to teach them to love themselves, their history, their culture and all the power they have."​