February 1, 2023
Honoring history, lifting stories, and uncovering the truth of who we are and what’s shaped us is critical to our work in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. As one of Communities Foundation of Texas’ three strategic priorities, advancing equity is essential in building thriving communities for all. We cannot work to build a community where everyone can thrive without also doing the work of ensuring that our community members have equitable opportunities and access to resources. At CFT, we are committed to the process of learning, leaning in, and sharing with our community what we’re learning as we go.
With that, we are honoring culture and history within our work and with our teams and invite the community to come alongside us. This month, we’re doing that by celebrating Black History Month.
Black History Month, observed each February in the United States, is an annual celebration that honors the historical contributions of African Americans and celebrates their rich heritage, legacy, achievements, and cultural traditions. Since 1976, each Black History Month has underscored a unique aspect of the Black experience by lifting a poignant theme that deepens the historical narrative and shapes conversations and progress for the future. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History has selected Black Resistance as the 2023 Black History Month theme, underscoring how African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression and highlighting the continued need for justice against discrimination.
“By resisting, Black people have achieved triumphs, successes, and progress as seen in the end of slavery, dismantling of Jim Crow segregation in the South, increased political representation, desegregation of educational institutions, the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and more.” – Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 2023
The stories that color the resistance of Black Americans span centuries and capture some of the darkest times in American history. And yet – rising from those stories are those whose resilience created pathways for a cultural shift that propels our collective progress. Those are stories worth honoring.
As CFT continues its mission to create a thriving community for all, we are working to uncover how history has shaped our work and positions us to serve the community in the variety of ways that we do. We are deeply aware of how the stories of Black Americans—specifically in Texas—have directly impacted where we are and where we’re going.
From Dr. Marcellus Cooper, the first Black dentist in Texas, who was born enslaved on the Caruth Farm; to Pearl C. Anderson, the Black woman who made CFT’s first six-figure gift; to Alfreda Norman, CFT’s first Black board Chair; to Richie Butler, Founder of Project Unity and current Board Chair; these are just a few of the names in CFT’s history that have shaped our organization. They are among the many who have fought against oppressive systems and charted new pathways that allow us to make a deep and lasting impact in our community.
Join Us as We Learn and Engage
Communities Foundation of Texas is celebrating Black History Month with our staff and community partners by engaging in the following events that give us a better understanding of Black history:
As we work to advance community equity, we hope to honor, understand, and learn from our history and engage in conversations that work toward strengthening race relations.
About the author
Dr. Reo Pruiett, Ed.D. is CFT’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. Read her biography here.
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History – Black History Themes
National Museum of African American History & Culture – Celebrate Black History Month 2023