This month, NAPD celebrates Black History Month by sharing information, insights, and inspiration via our social media platforms. In addition, we will host our final two racial justice webinars.  We hope you will celebrate alongside us by following our post and attending the February webinar events. 
To launch the celebration, S. Jai Simpson-Joseph, NAPD's new DEI Director shares her thoughts on the importance of Black History Month. 
“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”
—Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court Justic (1972)
First African American to serve on the Supreme Court since its inception in 1789.
Reading Justice Marshall’s words today continues to inspire.

His message provides a lens through which we can examine not only our core humanity, but the value of empathy. 

February 2022 is a pivotal time to recognize the power of his message. Though drafted 50 years ago in the landmark case Furman v. Georgia (1972), it remains true today. 

When we have the courage to choose this path.

Black History Month is most often defined as an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.

Founded in 1926 by noted historian Carter G. Woodson as a week of recognition and celebration; its intent was to elevate a history too often relegated to brief chapters of history books.

Thus, there’s a reason why this time of intentional acknowledgement exists. The history is an intrinsic part of who African Americans are, but also, who we are as a collective society. 

Without this month of appreciation, many a small Black child would sit unnoticed, silent, as history represented them only as enslaved footnotes. It is futile to deny history because it contains an element of pain. Our history is interwoven into the fabric of who we all are and cannot be altered through lack of acknowledgement. It is when we draw upon our journeys as a means to see and understand each other, that we emerge with empathy.

 If we have the courage to champion empathy, view in ourselves the collective strengths and weaknesses of our past and present, we have a chance to create a future that transcends our current state. 
Empathy at its finest, can contribute to transformation in the midst of all manner of pain and trauma . . .to see the humanity of our fellow beings. A core tenet in the brave social work construct of unconditional positive regard, the more of us who can champion empathy not only as a quality, but as a practice, the further we pay tribute to ourselves and to each other.