February was an important month across the country, and Esperanza staff and students were honored to celebrate Black History Month.

Throughout the month of February, staff, students, and adult participants delved into deep discussions about Black Heroes and their accomplishments. We studied and highlighted various leaders, and influencers of both the past and present, engaging in readings, reflections, and activities to further understand Black history.

During the first week of February, we engaged in an introduction to Black History Month and its importance.

During the second week of February, we highlighted the Civil Rights Movement and its leaders.

In the middle of February, we studied Black Culture, including artists, writers, athletes, and musicians.

And to conclude the month, we learned about Black Leaders in history and in the present-day, as well as shared Black Heroes influential in and to our lives.

Additionally, Chicago Charlie, Esperanza School’s paraprofessional, filmed an interactive video to further celebrate Black History Month. Chicago Charlie visited Chicago landmarks that honored influential Black and African-American historical figures, such as Muddy Waters, Emmett Till, Oprah Winfrey, and Ernie Banks. Students enjoyed this educational, virtual field trip, which you can watch here.

Likewise, Coleridge Adult Day Program and Esperanza Art Studio also celebrated Black Heroes. Adult participants focused on Black Leaders, as well as art forms and purposes specific to Black Culture.

At the end of the important month, Esperanza School and our Adult Program collaborated on a culminating project to honor all the Black Heroes and Leaders and to celebrate the knowledge they learned throughout the month. Individually, students and adult artists drew and colored quilt pieces to showcase their Black Hero, using the artistic style of Kehinde Wiley, a famous African-American portrait painter. Then, we connected those pieces to create one giant quilt, to celebrate and honor all the influential Black Leaders in history and in our personal lives.

Black History is American History and it was an important month for us to pause, reflect, continue to learn, and celebrate Black Leaders’ impact and accomplishments. Moving forward, Esperanza will continue to seek out opportunities to incorporate Black History and address diversity throughout the year.

To support Esperanza’s Black artists and celebrate their work, please shop a few pieces here and here