Dr. Christina Greer (115266)
Dr. Christina Greer

I don’t know about you, but this past Black History Month was an emotional mixed bag. I like to spend the month of February reflecting on the major accomplishments of Black people, past and present, in the United States and abroad, those who I know and those I will likely never meet. Last month we saw killings of unarmed and innocent Black people…again. We also saw the nomination of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson. I had so many emotions last month that I am still processing how I will incorporate and extend Black History Month into Women’s History Month this March.

Similar to Black History Month, Women’s History Month actually began as National Women’s History Week. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8. It wasn’t until 1987 that Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as “Women’s History Month.” Each year Women’s History Month has a theme and the theme for 2022 is “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” According to the National Women’s History Alliance, the theme is meant to be a tribute to the work of caregivers and frontline workers during the pandemic. The theme is also a “recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.”

As a Black woman, I like to think of Black History and Women’s History Month as a two-month celebration and reflection. Black women have been and continue to be the backbone of the Democratic Party and democracy in this country. I am currently completing a book on the amazing efforts of the late Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, organizer and Mississippi freedom fighter Fannie Lou Hamer, and current Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Each time I sit down to work on my manuscript, I am in awe of the bravery, intellect, and courage of these three women. How they each fought (and in Stacey’s case continue to fight) for the true ideals of this nation.

So, who are you choosing to celebrate this Women’s History Month? Will you take time to write a note to a girl or woman in your life? Will you donate to a female political candidate who is trying to make our society better? Will you express your financial support and shop at a woman-owned business? There are so many ways we can exercise concrete actions to make this month a true reflection of our appreciation for the contributions of women in our lives and our communities.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, please take time to recognize the many ways women continue to contribute to the functioning of our society across the globe. To quote Audre Lorde, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC

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