It seems perfect to me that Valentine’s Day comes in Black History month. There is no doubt in my mind that had it not been for love that our people would never have made it through the trials and tribulations that have been a part of our journey in America. It was because of love that Harriet Tubman kept going into the South to get more enslaved Africans. It was because of love that Prince Hall opened schools and started the Black Mason movement so that his children would be educated, and our people could display their spiritual, intellectual, and moral prowess. It was because of love that Malcolm X and Dr. King kept standing up even when they knew their lives were in danger and that death was almost certain. It is because of love that Fannie Lou Hamer left the hospital after being brutally beaten and went right back out into the highways and byways of Mississippi to register her people to vote. It was because of love that our ancient ancestors, such as Imhotep developed systems of thought, belief, and practice to care for mind, body, and soul. Sankofa Freedom Academy is founded on the ethos of love. A love for our culture, our earth, and our families has been foundational in our struggle to educate for the liberation of our people and the cultivation of our highest humanity.
It is clear to me, however, that what Stevie Wonder said is true. “Love’s in need of love today”. We must love ourselves, our people, our dreams, and most of all, our children—enough to sacrifice and do what may seem difficult so that they can grow and be what they were purposed to be. We must love our children enough to take their devices away and insist that they read a book. We must love our children enough to not play music around them that has lyrics that are violent, sexually suggestive, or just plain negative. We must love our children enough to make them do their homework before they do anything else. We must love them enough to listen to them, even when what they are saying makes no sense to our adult ears. We must love them enough to pick them back up, even when they make a terrible mistake. We must love them enough to forgive them and give them grace because we needed to be forgiven and extended second chances.
Nikki Giovanni said that Black Love is Black Wealth. In these days when people are concerned about how to manage their money so that they can prosper, let’s remember our most important currency is not a coin or a dollar. Our greatest riches come from what happens when we invest in our children and support one another. During this special time in our year, let’s remember to do the work of love. It’s not always easy but it is always worthwhile. Happy Black Love and Black History Month.
Sankofa Freedom Academy is a college preparatory K-12 freedom school that will build on the Philadelphia Freedom Schools model to increase literacy and numeracy levels throughout the community, promote respect for scholarship, servant leadership, conflict resolution, and cultural democracy. Through the use of African Centered and culturally responsive methodologies, Sankofa Freedom Academy will engender in its students, staff, and community a love for learning, pride in heritage and a commitment to personal and societal transformation. By operationalizing the adage, “each one / teach one”, Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School will build intergenerational learning communities in which each and every person is responsible to learn in order to teach, and teach in order to build a better world.