AUSTIN, Texas — Black History Month is just one month out of the year that puts a spotlight on black culture and celebrating blackness.
For many at the community kickoff block party for Black History Month at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center, celebrating being black should not just happen for one month of the year.
"It's just not about a month," Eric Martin, who grew up in Austin, said. "It's about understanding that me being black is all year round and I can't take that away. And if I can't take that away, then the only thing I need to be able to do is embrace every single fiber of it."
"So many people are celebrating at this time, it makes it easier for us to say, 'Hey, look what you can learn here and what you can see here,' because there's so many things going on because we enhance it this month," Whitney Cyrus, an Austin mom, said. "Being a shorter month, we try to make the best of it, and I think that does make it much easier."
Hundreds of people attended the event, checking out exhibits in the museum, tables for information, black history and getting in some line dancing. All of this provides more background and information on black culture and history, not just in Austin, but across the country.
"The museum is about our love of community; it's about promoting community' it's about having people come and support what we do here," Faith Weaver, the education coordinator at the museum, said. "It's being [melanin]-infused."
"We need to celebrate the contributions of the black community every day," Amitiss Mahvash, a non-black woman who brought her son to the block party, said. "There’s a long history of black contributions in Austin."
For parents like Mahvash and Cyrus, an event like this helps introduce and enforce black history and education in their kids' lives.
"When we can find ways to be positive with our history and also show the beauty that it is and the things that we may not always see in our textbook, I think that's super, super important," Cyrus said. "As a black woman and a black mother, those things being accessible to us, I'm so grateful that this is an option."
According to Weaver, this year's Black History Month theme is "African-Americans and the Vote." Throughout February, the museum will host a handful of programs to emphasize voting as well as art by black creators.
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