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Staff Recommendations for Black History Month

As we seek to advance diversity, equity and inclusion practices both within our community and our organization, we will be highlighting a number of important cultural observances throughout the year. It begins with Black History Month. While the story of Black History Month dates back to more than a century ago, it was not until 1976 that it was declared a national observance. 

Below, our staff members have shared works that have allowed them to reflect and learn about Black Americans’ history, plights and successes. 

Women of the Movement
By American Broadcasting Company

Women of the Movement is a historical drama miniseries, that tells the story of Mamie Till Mobley. Most people know the story of Emmett Till, the young man who was murdered while visiting his family in the Jim Crow south for “whistling at a white woman.” This miniseries details Mamie Till Mobley’s fight for justice for her murdered son. Her son’s death and her fight for justice are sometimes considered mainspring for the civil rights movements across the United States.
– Rachael Rosas, Administration Officer

Watermelon & Red Birds
By Nicole A. Taylor

Imbued with familial auntie warmth and deep reservoirs of wit and wisdom, Nicole A. Taylor’s Watermelon and Red Birds is a victorious exploration of Black celebration. The book – the first cookbook to focus on Juneteenth – unspools for readers how food is an indispensable crown of the holiday.
– Joni King, Program Officer

Who Are Your People?
By Bakari Sellers

This inspiring picture book by the New York Times bestselling author, Bakari Sellers, is a tribute to the family and community that help make us who we are.

When you meet someone for the first time they might ask, “Who are your people?” and “Where are you from?” Children are shaped by their ancestors, and this book celebrates the village it takes to raise a child.
– Diane Mahoney, President & CEO

Code Switch
From NPR

Hosted by journalists of color, Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby, Code Swtich hit the top of Apple’s podcast chart in May 2020, following the killing of George Floyd, and today is one of the most popular podcasts for fearless conversations about race and identity and their impact on every part of society. This podcast tackles the facts head-on, with diverse topics ranging from Black gun ownership, how to talk about race with children and why hip-hop and mass incarceration are so entangled.
– Maggie Dwan, Donor Relations & Communications Officer

Moonlight
Written & Directed by Barry Jenkins

A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. At once a vital portrait of contemporary African American life and intensely personal and poetic meditation on identify, family, friendship and love, Moonlight is a groundbreaking piece of cinema that reverberates with deep compassion and universal truths.
– Erin Kreutzberg, Program Officer

Butcher
By Natasha T. Miller

Natasha T. Miller is a Detroit, MI native, performance poet, LGBTQ activist, film producer and founder of the “Artists Inn Detroit.” This piece is a book about love and loss – about being unapologetic and transparent in grief.

Natasha finds an unexpected solace in the kitchen after losing her best friend and brother, Marcus. Here, using the cuts of the cow as a metaphor, Miller explores addiction, family and tragedy.
– Madi Syring, Program Associate

Hidden Figures
Directed by Theodore Melfi

Three brilliant African American women at NASA – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – serve as the brains behind on of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.
– Aaron Faist, Program Officer

My Vanishing Country: A Memor
By Bakari Sellers

Part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis, My Vanishing Country is an eye-opening journey through the South’s past, present, and future.

In his poetic personal history, we are awakened to the crisis affecting the other “Forgotten Men & Women,” who the media seldom acknowledges.

My Vanishing Country is also a love letter to fatherhood—to Sellers’ father, his lodestar, whose life lessons have shaped him, and to his newborn twins, who he hopes will embrace the Sellers family name and honor its legacy.
– Sue Jensen, Director of Finance

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