As we celebrate Black History Month, we invite you to ask yourself what you know about black history, and what you know about racism in America. No matter where you find yourself on this topic, it is never too late to start learning. We invite you to take a look at the resources detailed at the bottom of this page.
Below, we share the words of Amanda Gorham, the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate, who read her poem during the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021.
“The Hill We Climb”
A Poem by Amanda Gorman
When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry. A sea we must wade.
We braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.
And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.
That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.
It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption.
We feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour.
But within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So, while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.
We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, become the future.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain.
If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the golden hills of the West.
We will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states.
We will rise from the sun-baked South.
We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid.
The new dawn balloons as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
Meet Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History” by McKay Bolden
The Guide to Allyship by Amelie Lamont
Explaining White Privilege to A Broke White Person by Gina Crosley-Corcoran
What White Children Need To Know About Race by Ali Michael and Eleonora Bartoli
21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear On a Daily Basis by Heben Nigatu
My President Was Black by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Who Gets To Be Afraid In America by Ibram X. Kendi
Statement of Solidarity by Grace Presbytery
It’s Time to be Unified in Our Outrage by Michelle Kinder
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic
On the 400th Anniversary of the Slavery Trade, How Far Have We Come by Michael W. Waters, Dallas Morning News, August 30, 2019
The Accommodation by Jim Schutze, D Magazine
“Waking Up White” by Debby Irving
“So You Want to Talk About Race?” By Ijeoma Oluo
“Good White Racist” by Kerry Connelly
“Me and White Supremacy” by Layla F. Saad White
“White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo
“How to Be Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi
“The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
“Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People” by Mahzarin Banaji
“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson
Seeing White by Scene On Radio – A podcast series from the New York Times on the long shadow of American slavery and being Black in America
Code Switch by NPR – A podcast series hosted by journalists of color, tackling the subject of race head-on
Pod for the Cause – A podcast from the Leadership Conference On Civil and Human Rights
Brené Brown with Ibram X. Kendi – A podcast interview between Brene Brown and Ibram X. Kendi about how to be an anti-racist
1619 – An audio series from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery
How Does Racism Affect Your Health – A podcast about how structural racism can impact every aspect of health from Mary Bassett for Ted Radio Hour
Films, Documentaries & Videos
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man – Emmanuel Acho sits down to have an “uncomfortable conversation” with white America, in order to educate and inform on racism, system racism, social injustice, and the hurt African Americans are feeling today
13th/Ava Duvernay/2016 – A Netflix documentary exposing racial inequality within the criminal justice system
Selma – A film that chronicles the marches of the Civil Rights Movement
When They See Us – A Netflix documentary about five boys of color who were arrested for a crime they didn’t commit
Just Mercy – A biographical legal drama that tells the true story of Walter McMillian, who, with the help of young defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, appeals his murder conviction. Based upon the book of the same name.
American Son – A Netflix Movie about a mother of color whose son was shot and killed by police
The Hate U Give – A movie shown on HBO highlighting the tension of living between two worlds
Do the Right Thing – A 1989 Spike Lee film that still relevantly depicts race in America
12 Years a Slave – A film based on a true story about a free black man from upstate New York abducted and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War south
The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
How We Can Make Racism a Solvable Problem and Improve Policing by Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff
The Urgency of Intersectionality by Kimberle Crenshaw
Racism Has A Cost for Everyone by Heather C. McGhee
Black Injustice – A music video by Zion the Great, a Christian rapper/hip hop artist from McKinney, Texas
Complete the White Privilege Checklist by Peggy McIntosh
The Whiteness Intensive Course through Be the Bridge
Learn about Implicit Bias and take the Implicit Association Test