SCRANTON, Pa. — February marks Black History Month, a creation by historian Carter G. Woodson in the 1920s.
“It started as Negro History Week" said Glynis Johns.
Glynis Johns is the founder of the Black Scranton Project. She shared some ideas for anyone unsure of how to celebrate this month.
She said, “I think the most important thing is to take some time every day to look into black history, whether it's local, regional, or national. You can go to Black Wall Street dot com. Honestly, right now, quick Google searches.”
A little simple homework that Glynis says goes a long way to help all of us learn and appreciate the contributions of the black community.
"I think one thing that I find as a black woman, a lot of people, white people particularly, come to us. A lot of times, that is more burdensome on us when you can actually just go yourself to get that information instead of extracting more things from us as we try to, you know, stand in our truth," said Glynis. You should take that step to educating yourself."
One place to go for that education could be one of Black Scranton's free and virtual events this month.
The events from the nonprofit are free and open to everyone. It'll included a Q & A session with an author who shares the story of a slave’s survival and journey to freedom. There’s also “Mindful Meditations” on Wednesdays led by Donya Jackson.
"It's live every Wednesday in February at 9 a.m.," explained Donya.
While the 10 to 20-minute meditations are open to everyone and can be found on this Facebook page, Donya believes the sessions can be especially beneficial to many in the black community.
"Black people are affected more by stress than their other race counterparts. Social stress, economic stress, even political stress," added Donya. "And with more meditation and more releasing of that stressful and negative energy, what happens is it creates a space for positive energy."
Positive energy that many agree is needed right now with so much division in our country. A time that has the Black Lives Matter movement continuing efforts to take a stand against racially motivated violence against black people.
"We are actually the most marginalized people in this country," said Glynis.
While so many of the folks in our area do stand for inclusivity and equality, a recent post on our morning show Facebook page did generate some controversy.
Including two comments, one calling for a “white history month" and another attributing February to simply “pulling the race card.”
Glynis shared her thoughts on that.
"So every day, white history is what we live in. So we live in a white patriarchal society. We live in white society. So there's never going to be a moment where whiteness isn't prominent. We've never actually gotten to a space where black folks have even been accepted. Even when we have Black History Month," explained Glynis. "We can't even acknowledge the wrongs in a month without people feeling like they're being marginalized."
As Black Scranton Project continues to grow, there is hope that the nonprofit’s future community center, now in the works, will help take things in a different direction.
"I just want to make sure that the ones who struggle the most, which are usually communities of color, we have a support system for us," added Glynis.
Glynis knows there are many people in our area, of all races, who do support the black community here.
The hope is that gaining knowledge and an appreciation of other cultures through events like Black History Month will help more people embrace diversity and inclusion, making this a better place to live for all of us.
If you’d like to help the Black Scranton Project reach its fundraising goal or learn more about the free events the nonprofit has planned this month, click here.