At A Call to Men, you will often hear us say that “many things are true at once.” For me, that saying is at the forefront of my mind as we kick off Black History Month today.
To start, there’s plenty to celebrate this month! We need to always be celebrating Black joy, Black activism, and the countless individuals – many of whom still remain unnamed – who have paved the way for us to be here today. While I am grateful for a collective opportunity to celebrate Blackness, I am also conflicted about Black History Month.
More often than not, I have been saddened to see so many focus their February primarily on cisgendered, heterosexual Black men. Some, in an effort to be more inclusive, expand that focus to include cisgendered, heterosexual Black women, as well. In many respects, that’s wonderful. But it doesn’t capture the wholeness of Black history, nor our collective Black future. And if February is an opportunity to celebrate Blackness in all its splendor, we have to be committed to telling the whole story.
If February is an opportunity to celebrate Blackness in all its splendor, we have to be committed to telling the whole story.
Danielle Nicholson, COO
As a Black woman, I have experienced marginalization and invisibilization my whole life. But as a cisgendered heterosexual woman, I have to be honest that I have also contributed to the marginalization and invisibilization of Black trans and nonbinary folx. I am an aspiring ally – always practicing and growing, and always incomplete. I will keep working at this, and I know that Black trans and nonbinary folx don’t have the luxury of waiting for me to come to a full understanding of their experiences before lending my voice, my time, and my whole self to a fight in which I am not centered.
So this Black History Month, I’m asking you to join me in centering the Black folx at the margins of the margins by:
- Investigating how we are contributing to the erasure & marginalization of Black trans and nonbinary folx in our own lives.
- Committing to doing the work of educating ourselves and not belaboring Black trans and nonbinary folx to educate us.
- Remaining humble and teachable as it relates to this work of centering others.
We’re working on a big project right now at A Call to Men to uplift the experiences of Black trans women, and we can’t wait to share more with you. In the meantime, I am making a personal commitment to center the experiences of Black trans women, nonbinary folx, and other marginalized communities in everything I do.
I also want to take this opportunity to share gratitude for our radical rest policy at A Call to Men, which means we are taking today off to mark the first day of Black History Month. We decided last year as an organization that we would ask the team to choose some days that are important to them to recognize during the year – days that are culturally and personally relevant. And we added these as paid days off for all A Call to Men team members (you can see the list here). While I will take today to lean into rest as a form of radical self-care and resistance, I am also committing to reflecting on my contributions to the erasure of Black trans women and nonbinary folx. And I hope you’re with me.
Danielle Nicholson (she/her)
Chief Operating Officer, A Call to Men