February is National Black History Month
NATIONAL BLACK HISTORY MONTH
February is National Black History Month, also known as National African American History Month, a time for all Americans to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and recognize their central role in American history.
Other countries, including Canada and Great Britain, have also set aside months to honor black history. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and noted civil rights advocate Frederick Douglass. The first record of Africans arriving in North America is dated 1619, when a privateer ship carrying “twenty and odd” Africans landed at Point Comfort, Virginia, which is now modern-day Hampton, Virginia. The Africans were traded as slaves in exchange for provisions.
African-American’s impact our society throughout history and in numerous ways. Here are just a few prominent individuals we honor this month:
Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court. We recognize Thurgood Marshall every year on National Maryland Day.
George Washington Carver developed over 300 products from peanuts. Celebrate George Washington Carver and his contributions to the peanut industry on National Peanut Day.
Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to U.S. House of Representatives.
Rosa Parks helped initiate the Civil Rights Movement by refusing to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Celebrate Rosa Park on Rosa Parks Day and learn more about her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
Louis Armstrong is widely known as a jazz pioneer. Information about Louis Armstrong can be found in November on National Louisiana Day.
Colin Powell is a 4-star General who became Secretary of State. Colin Powell dedicated the Buffalo Soldier monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, establishing the first Buffalo Soldiers Day.
Barack Obama was elected the first Black President of the United States.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Learn more about African-American history. Here are a few books we suggest reading during Black History Month:
Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
Letter From a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King
The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Native Son by Richard Wright
Use #BlackHistoryMonth on social media and start a book discussion.
Black History Month was created by twentieth-century historian Carter Woodson, who believed black Americans were not adequately represented in the study of American history. Carter Woodson hoped for the day when black history would be accepted as a part of American history. Formerly known as Negro History Week, Black History Month was officially declared by President Gerald Ford in 1976.
NATIONAL AMERICAN HEART MONTH
American Heart Month isn’t just for lovers. February also reminds us to take care of our heart and consider our risk factors.
Believe it or not, heart disease can happen at any age. Some risk factors for heart disease and stroke are preventable. American Heart Month teaches us the ways we can help reduce our risks while eliminating those we have control over. Do you have one of these risk factors for cardiovascular disease? Obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol or diabetes.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Visit www.millionhearts.hhs.gov learn more about the risks and how to prevent heart disease and stroke. Use #AmericanHeartMonth to share on social media. Here are a few signs the CDC says you may be at risk for heart disease.
High blood pressure. There are millions of people in the United States who have high blood pressure, and millions of them are as young as in their 40s and 50s. If you are one of them, make sure to have it under control.
High cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity are all conditions that can increase your risk for heart disease. If you fall into this category, work on eating healthy and getting some physical activity in a few times a week.
Smoking cigarettes. Over 35 million adults in America are smokers and thousands of young people are picking up the habit daily. If you’re a smoker, do your best to quit or cut down. It’s what’s best for your health.
So, if you want to stay on top of your health and try to avoid the risk of heart disease, there are a few things you can do. Don’t smoke, and if you’re already a smoker, do your best to quit. Click here for options for help. The next step you can take is managing any conditions you may have such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. Next, make heart-healthy diet decisions. Eat whole foods that are low in trans-fat, saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar. A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Finally, get moving! Living a sedentary lifestyle will put you at a much greater risk for heart disease. Try to get in at least 20 minutes of physical activity 4-5 days a week, then build from there!
In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the first American Heart Month to tackle heart disease in the United States.
NATIONAL CHILDREN'S DENTAL HEALTH MONTH
Each year throughout National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, the American Dental Association promotes a different campaign targeting a new dental health goal.
National Children’s Dental Health Month brings together dental health professionals, caregivers, parents, and teachers to give children the best start on oral health. From brushing and flossing to healthy snacks and routine dental visits, the month also includes Give Kids A Smile Day on February 6th.
Tips for Brushing
Don’t skip – Making it habit requires sticking to the schedule. Even when there is a special occasion or if our child is tired, we need to reinforce the importance of brushing.
Make it fun – Songs that last 2 minutes will help. Reading to your child while they brush may help, too. Even a puppet brushing his teeth can be motivating.
Learn by example – Children emulate their parents. Brush with your children and they will want to be just like you.
Trial and error – Try different kinds of toothpaste until you find the one junior likes. Try using the smallest amount he will allow and working your way up to the recommended amount. Even a tiny amount is better than no toothpaste.
Don’t give up – The pain of cavities and lifelong dental issues is more costly and damaging than the dealing with these few moments of nagging battles twice a day.
HOW TO OBSERVE
The ADA promotes National Children’s Dental Health Month.
NATIONAL HOT BREAKFAST MONTH
February is a cold month for most of us, so what better way to start our days than with a steaming hot breakfast? National Hot Breakfast Month is celebrated every February to encourage everyone to set aside some extra time every morning to a make hot, fresh breakfast.
“What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast?” -Anthony Bourdain
You know what they say about breakfast… It’s the most important meal of the day! However, in the busyness of everyday life, it’s easy to put breakfast on the back burner and just grab a quick granola bar on your way out the door in the morning. This month, we are challenged to wake up a little earlier and take the time to really enjoy breakfast. You may be surprised at how much better you feel throughout the day when you allow yourself plenty of time in the morning to fully wake up, make breakfast, maybe listen to your favorite podcast as you get ready for the day. Appreciating the beauty that the morning brings and enjoying a hot breakfast will surely make you feel more full, more energized, and just overall better all day long!
HOW TO OBSERVE
Use #NationalHotBreakfastMonth or #HotBreakfastMonth to post pictures, recipes, and other inspiration for your friends! Here are a few ideas for healthy, hot breakfasts you can whip up this month. Hopefully, you can get into a routine and continue making tasty, hot breakfasts throughout the rest of the year! (Remember, you can do a TON of variations of these ideas based on your preference.)
Hot toast with peanut/almond/cashew butter, bananas sliced up, and chia seeds sprinkled over the top
Berry smoothie. Throw your favorite berries, half a banana, some cashew or coconut milk into a blender for a few minutes for a delicious, refreshing side to your hot meal. (Smoothies obviously aren’t a hot breakfast, but they go great on the side.)
Oatmeal with fried egg(s) over the top
Avocado spread over toast with a fried or poached egg on top
Overnight egg bakes for much less work to do in the morning
Egg breakfast muffins (basically mini quiche without the breaded crust for a healthy version)
Sweet potato and black bean stuffed breakfast burrito
National Hot Breakfast Month was created to encourage us to get up and start our day the right way! We were unable to find the creator of National Hot Breakfast month.
TEEN VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
During February, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Months provides an opportunity for prevention and healing for teen victims of violent relationships.
According to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, approximately 1.5 million high school students in the United States experience physical abuse from a dating partner. One-quarter of parents don’t talk to their teens about domestic violence.
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month encourages parents and adolescents to take an inventory of their relationships. Abuse includes physical, psychological or sexual abuse. Visit youth.gov, loveisrespect.org, breakthecycle.org for conversation starters and resources.
NATIONAL TEEN DATING ABUSE HELPLINE
If you or someone you know has been the victim of dating violence, free and confidential help is available 24 hours a day through the National Dating Abuse Helpline. Click here.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Break the cycle. Start the conversation. Use #TeenDatingViolenceAwarenessMonth, #TeenDVMonth and #LoveIsRespect to share on social media. You can make a difference! Do your part by encouraging schools, parents, teens, and community-based organizations to prevent this kind of violence. If you are a parent, talk to your kids about the dangers of teen dating violence. Teach your children that love is respect, and if someone tries to hurt them in any way, how to stand up for themselves and safely exit the situation they’re in. If you are a teacher or feel comfortable mentioning this to a teacher you know, encourage schools to hold classroom discussions talking about how to prevent dating violence. Make sure your children are mature enough to date and prepared to get themselves out of a dangerous situation in case one presents itself.
National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week was declared to be the first week in February in 2006. Congress declared the entire month of February to be National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month four years later in 2010.