People’s Resource Center celebrates Black History Month 2023 through reflections of DuPage County community leaders.
Read below and visit throughout the month to see new perspectives from our neighbors.
Black History Month Reflection
Anjali Alva shares her perspective.
This month, I celebrate my African American friends in Downers Grove and beyond. I want them to know they are seen, known, and appreciated for all they are. Their history is an integral part of American history, and so I want to continue to learn more about how Black History shaped the country we know today.
I am proud to know that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King visited India, where my family is originally from, and used what he learned from the successful non-violent movement for India’s freedom from British Colonial rule, led by Mahatma Gandhi, to help the Civil Rights movement here.
During Black History Month, we honor the rich heritage and the incredible contributions of Black Americans across the centuries. This includes people who changed our world in fundamental ways from George Washington Carver’s agricultural innovations to Ida B. Wells’ journalism and activism. I have been uplifted countless times by Maya Angelou’s poetry, and it is especially exciting to see the talent of young artists, like Amanda Gorman, whose poetry will undoubtedly inspire generations to come and give us even more to celebrate.
Black History Month Reflection
Dr. Leatha Ware shares her perspective on Black History Month.
“As we celebrate Black History Month, one cannot help but pause and wonder how our ancestors would evaluate the journey of challenges and successes over time. We honor contributions of many notable and influential African Americans, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and President Barack Obama, just to name a few.
As I reflect upon my position in life, as a retired Professor-Emeritus of Business, I am blessed to have had personal role models in my family to inspire, encourage, and model self-worth, throughout my life. Celebration of Black History Month is a continuum as I journey through life. My ancestors paid it forward, through hard work, education, and faith in God, so that I may understand how to embrace stewardship of my time, talents, and treasures, to share with others.
I am in the process of taking courses related to Adult Basic Education (ABE) that will enable me to share literacy skills with those that have a desire to enhance their education. As my family taught me to pay forward, time, talents, and treasures, my desire is to do the same.”
Reflections During Black History Month
Yashica Weeks, MS, CFRE has been working in fundraising for 15 years. She is currently the director of gift planning at DuPage Foundation. She comes from a family and tradition rooted in service, faith and purpose. She strives to make the world a better place.
Both of Yashica’s grandmothers were pillars in her small community. For example, it was her paternal grandmother who brought people of all races together – and galvanized the African-American community in the small, rural South Carolina town where she grew up. Her grandmother earned the respect of white leaders and influencers, who regularly sought her out to reach the African-American community.
“I’m not just inspired during Black History Month; I’m inspired every day by the limitless opportunities available to me. I’m inspired by family values rooted in faith, purpose and service. Each generation before me worked and sacrificed to ensure greater opportunities for the next generation. It is my duty to do the same for generations to follow.”
Yashica always had aspirations to work in public policy. She spent all four years of her undergraduate tenure working on the floor of the state house in South Carolina. Though she decided not to continue in the political arena, the desire to help make the world a better place endured. Work in event planning led Yashica to discover a passion for fundraising, which she uses today to help people and improve her community and world.
“I think generationally. I want my son, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to have more opportunities than I had. I’m living the fruits of my grandmother’s labor to create a better life for her family and community.”