Black History Month – Let’s take a Cultural exploration.

By Tonya Thomas

I want to share something with you:

Early on the morning that I interviewed to join this incredible group of individuals at the Mended Wing Counseling Group, my grandmother passed away. She was the strength, roots, and backbone of my family. Her spirit gave me the fortitude to get through that interview. “Grammy” always showered us with positivity, laughter, and encouragement. She would challenge us to strive for academic greatness and required us to check in on those we love. Her words run deep in the fabric of my family’s daily life. They impact how we interact with others and show up in the world. Fortunately, we had an ancestry test done on her before passing and learned she was a descendant of Sierre Leone, West Africa. Having this information to hold on to today reminds me that my heritage and identity run deep. Yours does, too.

RACE. CULTURE. ETHNICITY. Who am I? What is my purpose? There is no denying that the United States swells with diversity. Becoming an expert on YOU is one of life’s most extraordinary journeys. Uncovering your family history, cultural values, and how they align with or differ from how you choose to show up in the world is foundational in solidifying self-identity. Taking this path allows us to unlock new truths about the parallels between our past and present, which opens the door to greater self-discovery. This journey may never end, but we can pass on the information from generation to generation. We each have the honor of exploring what we want to write in our chapter of this book.

Each of us has some rich cultural background linked to our lineage, and what better time than now to search that out? It’s Black History Month, and I like this month to reflect on my family, our family history, Black history, and family traditions. I want to challenge you to take this exploration with me.