Black History Month is celebrated annually throughout February. During this time, we collectively honor and highlight the accomplishments of Black Americans as a nation and aim to learn more about the African diaspora. We will spotlight several members of our Goodwill family throughout the month and share how they celebrate Black History Month and what it means to them.
Meet Donnell Jones.
Data & Reporting Specialist, Workforce Development
Donnell is very passionate about observing Black History Month and has done so for several decades. “In my college years, I was very excited about Black History Month. As the Black Student Union president, it was our time to shine and highlight the culture and contributions of Black Americans”. Donnell recalls holding forums and small meetings to share information with his student colleagues and how it made him feel. “We were very proud, especially when we were able to secure a speaker to present on a particular topic to the student body.”
While Black History Month primarily focuses on the achievement and success of Black Americans, many may use this time to review the unsettling history of the African diaspora and throughout the civil rights era. “In the 60s, we fought hard to have our voices heard, and although we’ve made strides six decades later, we still have a way to go”. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that”. Donnell agrees and adds, “This (love for all races) needs to be taught at an early age. Compassion and empathy are missing throughout the country, and its absence is sorely felt”. Although Black History Month is celebrated throughout February, Donnell insists the celebration should continue throughout the entire year. “What happens on March 1st? One month is not enough time to review the history and contributions of Black Americans to our country”. Donnell suggests that anyone interested in diving deeper into Black History should visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “Education is the starting point to inserting change. When visiting the museum, start in the basement and work your way up. If you’re able to take it all in, it will have a profound impact on your life. From there, dive into literature and learn more about the contributions African American’s have made for this country”.
Thank you, Donnell, for sharing your personal experience and suggestions of ways to continue learning more about Black History.