Within our military community, around 43% of the 1.3 million active duty service members are people of color. Conversely, within our legal community, the percentage of African American lawyers is even lower—roughly 4.7%.

Every year, we as a community, recognize the importance of Black History in the American story. Black History Month is intended to acknowledge the contribution and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage. This is also an opportunity for our community to learn more about the effects of racism and how to confront negative stereotypes.

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) continues to promote the study of Black History all year. However, each year ASALH selects a theme for the month of Black History—this year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness. This year the focus will be on recognizing the legacy of Black scholars and celebrating “other ways of knowing” such as birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.

So, the question remains, how can we as military families take action during Black History Month?

  • ASALH is hosting a virtual festival about Black Bodies: From Exploitation to Excellence. The festival will be two days. The first day will examine the history of medicine and policies that have impacted African American health and added to inequalities among the community. The second day will focus on present-day issues regarding health and well-being among Black athletes.
  • Participate in 28 Days of Black History this newsletter provides facts about Black History during the month of February.
  • Sign up for the Blue Star Families Racial Equity and Inclusion event to Understand the Diverse Experiences of Military Families of Color
  • Families with children can also actively participate virtually through National Geographic Kids website where children can learn about Black History Month and why it is so important to our community.
  • MSJDN offers a Diversity and Inclusion Committee (DEI) that members can join and assist with various ways the Committee seeks to provide inclusion for our underrepresented members.
  • The DEI Committee also will be hosting a Book Club this year
  • Those interested in joining the DEI Committee or the book club can email inclusion@MSJDN.org