February 12, 2021 Category: Our Impact

Our Fresh Air Family: Celebrating Black History

During Black History Month, we recognize the importance of continuing to amplify Black voices not just during February but throughout the entire year. One way we are celebrating Black history this month is by sharing stories of community, culture and reflection from our Fresh Air family.  

We asked our Fresh Air Family, “What does Black History Month mean to you?” 

Deborah Asirifi – Director of Support Services and Child Registration 

Black History Month is the celebration of Blackness. It is celebrating the life that we have, our culture, struggles, our joys and accomplishments. It is also celebrating our gifts and talents and being – showing up as our full selves every day unapologetically.  

Amina, 11-years-old

Black History Month celebrates our ancestors that brought us here so we can live in equality, love and peace. I learned that Rosa Parks sat at the front of the bus fighting for equality.  

Leslie Montalvo – Development Associate 

Black History Month is a celebration of the contributions and achievements made by Black Americans and recognizes its role in history. To me, Black History Month emphasizes the responsibility I have to both myself and my community to strive for greatness.  

Shania, Nine-years-old

Nine-year-old Shania, shared that music and dance is important to her family because it helps them express their feelings and have a good time together!  

Michael Clarke  Director of Sharpe Reservation 

Black History Month means celebrating not only those celebrity names we know but so many we do not know that have paved the way, sacrificed, fought, and suffered for black and brown people. 

It means being proud to be a black man. It means being proud to have come from great ancestors, many I only know by name. It means to smile as I view social media, the news, etc.; that we are celebrated.  

I would also like to add, that we have been here since 1619, so every month is Black History Month to me. 

Cesar Rodriguez – Field Manager, Friendly Towns Program 

As a proud Afro-Latino, Black History Month is a time to celebrate my African roots, a time to learn more about my history and connection with the diaspora.  

This month and throughout the year, all Black people from all backgrounds must feel UNITED to overcome the many obstacles we face. We should CELEBRATE each other and continue to build a strong sense of COMMUNITY that understands the interconnectedness of our history and that continues to advocate for ourselves and each other. Black Lives Matter

Brenda Parr – NYC Parent  

Black History for me means freedom and equality – being treated and respected by everyone.  

Dr. Alexandra Margevich – Research & Evaluation Manager 

For me, Black History Month means acknowledging the historical and continued oppression of Black people in this country, and celebrating the accomplishments of Black individuals who have helped shape America. 

Leslie, Camp ABC Alum  

16-year-old Leslie talks hair and fashion! Leslie enjoys exploring her creativity through her own personal style and finds it is an opportunity to share her story through fashion. 

Kareem Williams – Senior Systems Administrator 

Black History Month is a reminder of the pride one should have to be part of the Black culture and its efforts in cultures around the world. A time to reflect, learn and research the great things Blacks have discovered and contributed to the world. 

Nine-year-old Amelia showcased her art, Doing the Right Thing inspired by Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at The Fresh Air Fund’s Virtual Talent Show! 

KhaylaCollege Connections Program Student, and her mother, Shaquoya  

What Black History Month means to us is being able to have a whole month dedicated to many African Americans, those who have invented something useful, those who have been forgotten, and those who otherwise probably wouldn’t be known about if not for the honor of the month. It’s nice to learn your history, and by yours I mean everyone’s because all history is our history. Although we all should be thought of and honored every day, it’s nice to know that there is a whole month dedicated to Black history because Black history doesn’t get honored much because of an individual being black. February may be the shortest month but it offers so much because it’s a month of teaching and learning something new.  

Kavita Shah – Field Manager, Friendly Towns Program 

For me Black History month is all about education. There are so many stories of African Americas who made significant contributions to this country but are not widely known. I really appreciate the efforts of so many activists, educators, and historians who are raising these stories up and correcting the record. 

Angela Bonato – College Connections Program Manager 

Black History Month means a lot to me, because it celebrates and recognizes Black people and Black culture. Black History Month gives acknowledgement to Black creators, entrepreneurs, historical figures and others that have given so much to America but may have been overlooked due to systemic racism and dismissal of Black voices. It is also a chance to reflect, address and educate others about historic oppression that is at the root of our country’s foundation.