I was recently talking with a friend and mentor, sharing that I am feeling very reflective as we approach the conclusion of the 2022 legislative session and as I marked my first anniversary as Executive Director of Stand for Children Washington.
She aptly and powerfully framed it for me: “You’re having a Sankofa moment.”
Sankofa is an Akan Twi word that means “to retrieve.” It is captured by a beautiful Ghanaian Adinkra symbol that signifies revisiting one’s roots in order to move forward. Sankofa is a core concept in Black History and I found her suggestion compelling and well-timed, as the conclusion of Black History Month also sparks reflection for me personally.
With milestones, ends, and beginnings being such strong themes within our community right now, let’s make the most of this moment by revisiting our historical roots and acknowledging how they provide us with nourishment to stretch forward. We have the opportunity to create a liberatory future for young people that is rooted, reflective, and well worth our collective reaching.
My colleague Jennifer recently wrote that Black History Month presents us all with “a designated opportunity to learn about the resistance, resilience, and remarkable talents of Black Americans.” Reflecting on the critical need to support Black History Month, she invites us to take action by speaking out in support of Black History Month.
Given current efforts to silence educators and redact from students’ textbooks the empowering and inspiring facets of our history that are our collective inheritance, this is important now more than ever. If you believe a quality public education includes learning the truth about our country's history of racism, slavery, and the civil rights movement — and not just during Black History Month, please join me in speaking up.
This Sankofa moment is our reminder: We must revisit our roots in order to move forward together.
Happy Black History Month,
Kia C. Franklin
Stand for Children Washington