help_outline Skip to main content

News / Articles

DEIA Member Shares her Thoughts About BHM

Jane Hursch | Published on 2/20/2024

The DEIA committee asked members to consider what BHM means to them. Jane Hursh, of the committee has penned an essay with a call to action for each of us.

As the words and wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are still reverberating in our hearts and heads, we look ahead to a month devoted to a better understanding of Black History, it cannot be a better time to earnestly consider the challenge both annual recognitions/events present us. And that challenge is posed to all of us, all times of the year, every year.

Here in Florida, we are burdened by state-level decisions to not just eliminate stories of our American history, but hastened to move forward without even acknowledging these truths of lived experience are real. At the national level, we hear false assertions about slavery and racism. But author Ibram X Kendi insists, “denial is the heartbeat of racism.” In fact, racism can appear non-existent in a White world. If an individual is treating everyone else with respect and equity, surely in that world, ‘it’s better for Blacks’ now. What that White world can miss is the overarching systems, infrastructure and laws enacted over the course of America’s history to benefit the White world. This is the ‘systemic racism’ that is spoken of in curriculum, the media conversations. This blindness to racism is well-explained in theologian Jemar Tisby’s book, The Color of Compromise.

So what does it look like to be part of the dream Dr. King so eloquently described for us over 60 years ago? We were created to be curious, to learn from others, to be in community with one another. This is where curiosity can benefit us, where we seek to understand rather than quickly seeking to correct/explain/defend.

We can be involved in efforts in our own sphere of influence, to have hard but thoughtful conversations (where others are willing), to call out mistreatment when we see injustices, to join proactive efforts to change laws, to support democracy by engaging and informing voters, standing up to censorship and book bans, pursuing ways to object to gerrymandering and voter suppression, to commit to commerce and partnerships with Black-owned businesses, to hire Black and Brown professionals wherever and whenever possible. When everyone has a seat at the table, there is greater productivity, creativity and holistic solutions.

This February, we each have the same, impactful opportunity to keep pursuing truth, telling truth and thereby moving the needle toward greater equity. Lasting change happens through small, consistent acts of courage.
“We deny ourselves the beauty of justice when we refuse to tell the truth." Bryan Stevenson