Black History Month is not simply a time for African-Americans to take pride in and to educate others about their history and achievements. It is also a time for Muslims to educate themselves.
It's a time to remember the struggle against slavery, oppression and racism, which continues to this day.
Here are 10 things you can do for Black History Month to make it a rewarding and enriching experience:
1. Find out what's going on in your community
So what's your Masjid, Muslim Students' Association or local community center doing about Black History Month? Are there any lectures, seminars, trips to museums, etc. planned? If not, why don't you become the catalyst for change. Convince your Masjid and MSA of the need to use Black History Month for the education of the Muslim community about African Muslim history. Work with them to use this time for sharing with others the Islamic legacy of African-Americans.
2. Discuss with your family
Hold a family meeting to discuss what Black History Month is and how everyone will participate in it. Make sure to be prepared with some basic information about what the month signifies and what kind of events are normally held.
Then, discuss which programs the family should participate in and how everyone can learn more about Africa, notable African Muslims and more. End the meeting with a Dua for the millions of martyrs who died as slaves.
3. Attend local events
Is there a museum commemorating African-American history? Is there an exhibit at the nearby college or community center? Look out for local events commemorating Black History Month for you and everyone in the family. Then make the arrangements to visit. Make this an educational and fun family outing!
4. Read up on it
Forgive the cliché, but knowledge really is power. Make sure you check out what's available in our bibliography, your local library and the Internet about African-American Muslims as well as Islam and Muslims in Africa. Develop a one-month reading plan for February composed of a list of articles and books to read on these topics during the month.
5. Where in the world is…?
During a family meeting in February, have one of the kids do a presentation about a Muslim country, like Mali. Don't just provide dry facts like the country's GDP and population. Include information about when Islam came to the area, how it was maintained, and some of the cultural traditions of the Muslims there (i.e. how they celebrate Eid, etc. ). If the project is good enough, have the student present it to his or her class.
6. Have an African food night
Get out your international cuisine cookbooks or borrow some from a library and whip up a tasty African Muslim meal the whole family will enjoy! Or go out to an African restaurant and sample the food. This will give you a whole different perspective on the culture. Food doesn't only fill our stomachs, it can break barriers and misunderstandings. Try it!
7. Invite a human being of other race group to your home
In our elevator culture we all remain divided. Let's share the beauty of diversity, culture and common humanity across racial barrier. Let's spice the visit with your warm hospitality and a great meal!