The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”
Black History Month provides a unique opportunity for all of us to celebrate the history of Black Americans and how their history has shaped every part of our social fabric and country. In their centuries-long struggle for liberty, freedom, equal rights, and a more just and inclusive society, Black Americans and their rich heritage and history offer thousands of individuals and endless achievements to commemorate, and thousands of victories against violence and oppression to celebrate. It is also a special time for us to dedicate our time to reflect on the ongoing struggle for racial equity and social justice.
CFS paid tribute to Black History Month with a variety of events and activities that highlighted the important contributions of Black activists and leaders throughout our history, particularly Black leaders in the movement for disability and equal rights. Our participants, Disability Support Professionals (DSPs), and staff celebrated together distinguished Black individuals, who advocated for disability rights, like activist and artist Lois Curtis, who had IDD and schizophrenia, and Willie Mae Goodman, who fought for disability rights for 67 years! We also celebrated our incredibly dedicated Black DSPs with a film screening dedicated to their unparalleled contributions to helping our participants build their dreams, and for making CFS the special family that it is. And from engaging short films we turned to powerful readings that paid tribute to Rosa Parks, among others.
Black History Month is particularly significant for people with disabilities, since it highlights the intersectionality of race and disability and the unique challenges faced by Black individuals with disabilities. By promoting awareness and understanding of the historical and cultural contributions of Black individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), we can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all!
Celebrating Black History Month at CFS is an essential way to recognize the struggles and sacrifices of those who have fought for their rights and the rights of others, including the unique challenges faced by Black individuals with disabilities. Our efforts, our events, and the activities developed by our teams help inspire our community to recognize the importance of this month and to continue working towards a more inclusive and equitable society for all individuals, regardless of race or ability!