Written by: Angel Roberson Daniels
Angel Roberson Daniels
Executive Director, Angell Foundation
AABLI Board Member
Though February is officially the month in which our nation observes the significance of Black people’s contributions to its advancement, the African American community actually honors its history throughout the year.
Even so, Black History Month offers our community an ideal framework for the practice of Sankofa. Derived from the Akan people of Ghana, Sankofa means to “fetch what is at risk of being left behind.” It is an opportunity for us to collectively reflect on our hard-fought battle for liberation, to celebrate the resilience and ingenuity of our ancestors and to employ lessons learned in order to chart a future in which Black people and communities thrive.
Sankofa is depicted by a metaphorical bird—feet firmly planted forward and head turned backward—expressing the importance of using past lessons to strategically position ourselves for future progress.
In the spirit of Sankofa, it is customary to ponder the extent to which we are maximizing the lessons and sacrifices of the ancestors on whose shoulders we stand. We often think about the legacies of our history makers. We wonder if we are making them proud, regularly reciting their dreams and continuing to do what is necessary to realize their vision.
Perhaps it was a dream or prayer from an ancestor that led you to AABLI’s Board Leadership Program (BLP). Maybe you were propelled by an unrelenting drive to change the world. Or, like me, perhaps you were frustrated with the woeful underrepresentation of Black people in spaces where we could positively influence resource and policy decisions that impact our communities.
Regardless of your reason, we are grateful for your partnership, dedication, and investment in the health of our future humanity. Lessons from our past have taught us that if we are not sitting at the table where decisions are made, issues central to our social and economic transformation are less likely to be on the agenda.
The future depends on us. We are the ancestors of future generations. This Black History Month, I challenge us to thoughtfully reflect on our own legacies. What past lessons are we incorporating into our lives? How can we be more intentional about what we are leaving behind? How will we use our talents, expertise and resources to elevate the voices and lived experiences of the communities we represent? How will those who come behind us benefit from our efforts—the trails that we blaze, the ceilings we shatter and the transformative change we generate?
We Got This. We are Black History.
This blog is not written by aabli.org or The African American Board Leadership Institute. The author is solely responsible for the content.