Black and Abroad: How to Celebrate Black History Month No Matter Where You Live
When moving abroad, you know you must accept the differences that come with your new country. After all, you came prepared to leave your customs behind and learn new ones, right? Embracing differences, opening your mind, broadening your horizons… all of that. Great. BUT: what can you do when the holiday that exists to celebrate who you are, is nowhere to be found in your host country? How can you cope when it’s February, Black History Month, and no one around you knows… or cares.
It’s not easy being the only one around who has heard of the people you grew up learning about, and know as icons in the United States. Here are a few ways to keep on keeping on during Black History Month abroad.
That’s right. Channel your powers of Google-Fu, and use them to find the community (and trust me, it exists) of Black Americans in your new country. There are several blogs, Facebook groups, internet forums, and articles at your fingertips, full of people just waiting to connect and welcome you. Some of the strongest friendships I’ve made in Spain are with people from similar groups I found on Facebook. There are people all over the world who bond over this month. Go out for a drink or coffee with your new friends, and talk to your heart’s content about current affairs in the U.S., the upcoming election, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
In February there may be music festivals, poetry readings, and other activities that celebrate being black. Black history is more than Black Americans. There are brothers and sisters in every country you can think of. Use this time to meet Black people from other places, learn their stories, and really get to know what it’s like to be black in another culture from people who grew up there.
Photo by Elle