February is over and with that brings an end to Black History Month. There are ways to still care about the Black community outside of the one month of the year.
One way is to donate money to black-owned businesses, black activists or hire black professionals. Economic success and freedom is still a notable concern for the black community. Money and opportunities to gain a steady income are easy and tangible ways to positively impact communities. This is often a forgotten form of support but also one of the most useful, as no matter how many people want to help, ultimately money is needed to fund programs. One way to do this is to donate to Flint, Michigan, or the black AIDS institute on a weekly or monthly basis.
Another way to support black people is to be a better ally. Many non-black people like to say they are allies to the black community, but to be an ally is to be constantly standing up for them. A good place to start is by having black friends. If you do not have any black friends, you are missing out on massive black cultural experiences. If you do have black friends, ask them how to be a better ally — they will probably have suggestions. Another way to be an ally is to stand with them. Historically, and still today, black people have legitimate reasons to fear and distrust the government. If you see a black person speaking to the cops, stop and ask the black person if everything is alright, ask if you should stay, film the interaction. An act as simple as waiting and watching can make black people feel protected and cared for.
Lastly, continue to educate and learn about black culture throughout the year. Along with many marginalized communities, black history is limited to one month. Learn about black history, learn about ways to honor black people and uplift the community, learn about important black figures of today, all year long. A simple way to do this would be to read a text from one black author a month, learn about the history of black events or take a class on African Americans. There is simply too much black excellence to learn in a month and black history is a part of American history.
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Destiniee Jaram is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University and is the Query a Queer writer for Ohio University’s LGBT Center.