Honoring Black History Month

Julianna SilvaBlog

honoring black history month

At Family Friendly New Mexico, we’ve been asking ourselves some big questions as we deepen our commitment to anti-racism. In honor of Black History Month, our team took some time to share how are each showing up in that work. We are sharing this with our community to offer our own reflections on what it means to stay committed. We know that it calls for transparency and vulnerability in sharing that we don’t have all the answers and that we remain committed to continue listening, learning and working toward common goals. Read below for personal reflections from our team:

Felicia Montoya, Web & Marketing Manager
I honor Black History Month by teaching uncomfortable truths to my daughter and being honest about our complicated history here in the United States. I enjoy Black History Month because the wealth of knowledge that is shared about important stories of African Americans and their contributions to our lives. I continue to learn and I think we should all keep our minds open and continue to educate ourselves and learn from our mistakes.

As a New Mexican, I was fascinated to learn that the first non-native person to visit New Mexico and American Southwest was a black man named Mustafa Azemmouri (Estevanico). He was an enslaved man and one of the 4 survivors of the 1527 Spanish exploration shipwreck. He is praised for his ability to communicate with indigenous peoples and led an expedition to find Cíbola (Seven Cities of Gold). The record is vague, but in 1539 he either was killed by the Zuni people or became free and disappeared into “Tierra Nueva”.

Giovanna Rossi, Founder & CEO
During Black History Month, I intentionally lift up this commitment with the goal of exploring and learning. How can we be more intentional in our work? How can we honor those who came before us, and on whose land we stand? How can we honor the varied backgrounds of all of our team members? In order to begin to answer these questions, I have looked at my own time, energy and resources to more intentionally devote them to the work of anti-racism. On a personal and professional level, what this looks like is:

  • Asking who else is on a panel I’ve been invited to participate in, and when the answer is all white women but “we’re looking to add women of color”, my response is, “Great, how can I help? And please don’t publish my name on the event until you have them confirmed.”
  • Deepening our organizational understanding of DEI by investing in BIPOC trainers and courses for our team.
  • Creating time on our team agenda for discussing how we recruit speakers for our events. Through what lens are we looking?

Zoe Otero-Martinez, Outreach & Business Development
I honor Black History Month by working on dismantling racism in my own life and actions.  I take the focus of this month as a daily reminder that the work we all must do needs to be woven into our every action. I am reading stories, articles and social media, learning every day and better equipping myself to always be aware of the contributions made and trials experienced by Black Americans.

Our family has been sharing with each other how we can do better, be better, work at always being part of the solution to understand and battle racism in our communities. This month reminds me to push myself into conversations about race that are uncomfortable. I hope we never stop asking ourselves what kind of world  and community we want to live in.
Julianna Silva, COO
I am honoring Black History Month by deepening my education about what it means to be anti-racist. I am choosing to be more intentional and use my voice to ask questions about long-standing ideas that we have been socialized into believing. I am deepening my commitment to learn how to be an anti-racist leader by engaging in a training, “Anti-Racist Results Based Accountability for Leaders.”