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Reflections: Celebrating Black History Month

Feb 19, 2021

Throughout the month of February, St. Vincent-St. Mary students and staff members will share their perspective on the deeper meaning of Black History Month through a series of reflections. You will be able to learn what it means to them personally, how they celebrate it and who in their life inspires them. Black History Month allows us to spotlight the influential people and events that were invisible for so long. It also affords us the opportunity to reflect, educate and continue to work toward a more just and equitable society. Understanding our past opens the doors to the future.


Friday, February 19 - Rebka Lile VM22

What does Black History Month mean to you?

RL: Black History Month to me is a time when I try to be intentional about celebrating Black history and culture.

Name an influential African American that has impacted your life.

RL: Although I have many African Americans who I look up to, I would say that Maya Angelou is definitely someone who has impacted me, especially during my highschool years. A few years back, I got a collection of her poems and I've fallen in love with her work ever since then. Her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is one of my favorite books because she tells her story in a way that portrays the struggle for Black people at that time while also sharing the beautiful memories she has as a child and her life growing up in the South. I've always thought that she was such a talented writer and her work has had a big influence on me.

How do you like to celebrate Black History Month?

RL: I don't really have one specific way I celebrate Black History Month but I try to be read books by Black authors or watch movies that portray Black history. I think often the beauty of Black culture and history gets overshadowed by the ugly side of our history and although the good and the bad are often intertwined, I try to be intentional about also celebrating the beautiful culture. I like to do this by listening to black artists like Marvin Gaye or learning by the evolution of fashion for black people throughout history or learning about black inventors and entrepreneurs.


Friday, February 12 - Eric Brown VM21

What does Black History Month mean to you?

EB: If someone were to ask me what Black History Month means to me? I would tell them that it's about having the mindset of making connections from the past to the present and the future. It's a celebration of some of the most unsung heroes of history, regardless of their profession. Ultimately, Black History Month is about celebrating diversity, representation, and inspiring people to succeed in their endeavors through adversity. There's no one "perfect" description of what Black History Month is, but even the diverse ideas of what it means to each individual can truly be considered a testament to the ideals it represents to me and many others.

How do you like to celebrate Black History Month?

EB: Personally I don't have any traditions to celebrate Black History Month, but I really like watching documentaries and listening to podcasts (I run one on YouTube with Sean Dodd called the Supertuxpodcast), so I always make it a point to learn more about a historical Black figure. I always looked forward to Mrs. Bush's taste of culture she would host at school, but due to the pandemic that's not a possibility this year unfortunately.

Name an influential African American that has impacted your life.

EB: Last year when I was asked this question, I mentioned that my parents were the most influential Black people in my life, but tied with them would be both sets of my grandparents. My grandparents are almost like second and third sets of parents that I can share my true self with. Growing up with them in my life has profoundly influenced me to believe in the importance of family, to the point where I consider family and friends equally important in my life. My grandparents have also inspired me because they all have been through so much, but by having faith in God, and having a very strong work ethic, they were able to overcome many adversities. I'm blessed to witness the benefits reaped from the seeds they sowed.

I Am Proud to be Black - A poem by Eric Brown


Friday, February 5 - Amaurion Watson VM21

What does Black History Month mean to you?

AW: To me, Black History Month is more than just a month. These last few years have shown us that we need to take way more time educating ourselves and others on the importance of African American culture in the United States. As an African American and growing up during a time of instability, I have taken it upon myself to find ways to lead...and by lead, I dont just mean people of color like myself, but a leader for all. I feel like Black History Month is really about being a leader. We learn about how Martin Luther King and other activists/leaders helped changed this country once before, but I feel like I can change it now through my words, actions and my platform. Black History Month is also about coming together in order for change. We need to come together as one and force change as a whole. One voice will never overpower multiple.

How do you like to celebrate Black History Month?

AW: My family watches movies about black empowerment. I also take it upon myself to watch documentaries and read African American authors that have an impact on me. At school, I love to share what I’ve learned about Black History Month with my classmates.

Name an influential African American that has impacted your life.

AW: My mother has been the biggest influence on me because she’s nothing less than strong. I believe that she’s the reason I fight so hard to do everthing to my to fullest potential and she has taught me that set backs only lead to stronger comebacks.