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Why we celebrate Black History Month by promoting dignity

February 19, 2021

Black History is American History

A message from Charles Redd, Baystate Health Black Employees Connecting Leadership Team

February is African-American History Month, a time when the history and contributions of Black people in the United States are taught and celebrated.

Importance of learning history

The foundations of the month were laid by historian and educator, Carter Godwin Woodson in 1926. Woodson believed that the study and teaching of African-American History was essential to combating the invisibility and minimization of Blacks in America.

Woodson said, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”

These are powerful words because Black history in America is our collective history. It directs purpose and recognition.

How Baystate Health promotes dignity

In Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, Dr. Donna Hicks speaks to the universal desire of people to be treated with Dignity. Furthermore, Hicks asserts that Dignity is part of one’s birth right and when it is violated it negatively impacts not only the person subject to the act, but also the one who imposed the act.

This is the reason Hicks created the Dignity Model and its 10 Essential Elements of Dignity, which Baystate Health has adopted. It affords the opportunity to work through conflict by addressing the violation and righting the wrongs.

African-American History Month is a period to celebrate the legends, luminaries and leaders of the culture. It is also a time to reflect on and address prior and present violations to a people’s Dignity.

Therefore, this month holds a singular importance on reconciliation and Elevating the Dignity of all people.

Learn more about the Dignity Model.