As an African American woman who is an educator, parent, friend and community member, Black History Month has been a time to celebrate inclusiveness and call to action the authenticity of history. This call to action was strong and successful for the year of 2020, when the Black History theme was “African Americans and the Vote.”

African Americans voted in record numbers, despite a pandemic, to voice their opinions and demands for racial and gender equality. Our United States House of Representatives and presidential cabinet now looks like the women and men that they represent. History was made with the inauguration of the first African American/Asian descent woman vice president, Madame Vice President Kamala Harris. I swell with pride with just saying, Madame Vice President Kamala Harris. The accumulation of events, activism and understanding of history of the Fifteenth (Right to Vote Not Denied by Race) and Nineteenth (Women’s Right to Vote) Amendments had a tremendous impact on the 2020 election. It is evident that Black History Month provides opportunities for conversations about race, history, diversity and gender equality. Conversations that are not always easy, but are necessary. It is important that people understand that Black History Month is highlighted in February but is celebrated daily. History is made daily in our country and Black History is a part of it.

I feel Black History Month sets a purpose of study and actions for the year. The theme for Black History Month 2021 is “Black Family, Leadership and Service.” I am so excited to emphasize this theme in my daily life. I am looking forward to solidifying my family of sisterhood through mentoring, conversations and community service. This year’s celebration will be inclusive of family traditions through storytelling, song, dance and, for my family, a large Zoom Family Reunion.  I also look forward to celebrating Black History Month through honoring past and future leaders. Acknowledging the sacrifices and accomplishments of leadership is a part of how the Torch of Black Excellence is passed. I’m inspired that the acceptance of the torch will be received by leadership in my community and our country.  

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As the Detroit Partnership Coordinator, Carmen Perry works with partners in Detroit coordinating and establishing Global G.L.O.W. programming,  Supporting partners with training, planning and executing events and projects that align with the Global G.L.OW. programming.  She also implements plans for recruitment for partnership management with Detroit organizations and the Detroit Public School Community District.

Carmen received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Wayne State University and her Master of Education from University of Detroit Mercy. Carmen served as an educator for thirty-two years. Carmen’s final position was at Detroit International Academy for Young Women, the only public female school in Michigan. Carmen has been able to witness the power of advocacy as young women find and use their voices. She feels it has been an honor and privilege to mentor young ladies as they discover the greatness they possess.