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Guest Column: Black History Month a Reminder to Remain Vigilant

Guest Column: Black History Month a Reminder to Remain Vigilant
February 27, 2024 Nicole

The Greater Freeport Partnership honors the commemoration of Black History Month with a special feature from James Rhyne, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Freeport & Stephenson County.

Although it may finally seem that covid-19 is on the retreat, we must remain vigilant and watchful of the trends that are taking place in our nation, region, and locally, so if need be, we can respond quickly if the virus resurfaces at highly infectious levels.

Having said this, it’s nice to return to some degree of normalcy, and whereas normalcy is generally a good thing we cannot conduct business as usual if it means marginalizing the value and accomplishments of people of color. This would be a disservice to all young people and will have a profound impact on their growth, specifically their social and emotional learning.

Black History Month is a brief period during the year in which our country focuses on the contributions made by African Americans and should be celebrated by all, and yet there is a concerted effort among some politicians to prevent educators from teaching certain lessons that are pivotal moments in American history that involve African Americans. Even more incomprehensible is the attempt to whitewash the impact of enslaving black people.

There has been so much discussion about what children are being taught and what they should learn. At the Boys & Girls Club of Freeport and Stephenson County it’s fairly simple; we will teach kids the truth – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Partnership has promoted several wonderful community celebrations planned in Freeport & Stephenson County commemorating Black History Month. These events and programs continue to spur and expand community conversations around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in our community. For more information on our organization’s inclusion work, please visit our web site.