Black History Month: To Post About it... Or Be About It 🤔

Feb 13, 2024

In 2022, I was directing a devised theatre piece as an artist-in-residence at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Every month they hosted “community halls” for the whole school to attend and highlight important holidays, events, etc. In January 2022, they hosted a community hall in honor of MLK Day and brought in speaker and NPR critic, Eric Deggans, to talk about the impact the media has on the perception of BIPOC individuals. His presentation was intriguing and engaging, but there was one statistic that stood out to me and has stayed with me ever since that day. He shared…

“White people often judge racial progress by looking at the past, and Black people judge [racial progress] by comparing [the past or present] to the future.”

Why am I sharing this? Good question. But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Morgan Breon. I am the Director of Business Operations and Special Projects at IDC, and have been with the company a little over 3 years. In my role, I am typically behind the scenes helping to ensure that the systems we are building align with our Core Values. My “specialty,” if you will, is paying extra attention to how our work, processes and programming uphold our foundational Core Value of Anti-Racism. And due to my own lens and experiences, I am passionate about beginning this conversation with a clear intention of countering anti-Black racism.

This leads to my answer to the “why am I sharing this” question. By now, you may have noticed that our IDC website is “under construction.” I can assure you that it’s not a system shutdown and IDC is not imploding. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. IDC is preparing to share a huge transition around our approach to intimacy work. And I couldn’t be more excited, not only as an employee - but as a Black artist and human committed to racial equity in both my professional and personal life. I actually prefer the word “transformation” over “transition.” Transitions are necessary and require a willingness to change. But for me, transformation requires sacrifice. A willingness to change, even if it costs you something.

In 2023, I led a system-wide audit of IDC, specifically focused on the company’s engagement with our BIPOC community members in both programming and processes. Around September of 2023, I concluded my audit and shared my findings with our leadership team. After expressing appreciation, we had difficult conversations about some areas for improvement. And immediately, our team began thinking through solutions and possible implementation strategies. Our Core Training materials started undergoing fresh edits. We were mapping out additional courses that could strengthen the bridge between Core Training and Advanced Training. Our Operations Team had even built a brand new system to embed Continuing Education courses more officially into our Certification Pathway. But as we took action, it felt like more problems were highlighted. And as a result, our CEO Jessica Steinrock told us to pause. She felt that we were placing bandaids on bigger issues and asked for a moment to recalibrate. A few months and several consultants later, we’ve landed here. A website that is under construction. (With our team in the background, building something new and transformative. 👀)

But wait. There’s more…

As 2024 reared its head, our team was hard at work, and we suddenly found ourselves nearing February. I expressed that it was very important to me that in the midst of our “transformation,” that Black History Month and what Black folks (particularly Black women) have meant to intimacy work did not get lost. I shared my thoughts again with Jessica and we were both concerned with just “throwing something” together for Black History Month.

So we didn’t. We didn’t “just throw together” a post for Black History Month. We didn’t settle on a “one-off” post or blog that would probably make it to the Trash folder in many of folks’ email accounts. We didn’t scramble to do a “feature” to appease the season. And that may sound like a “cop out,” but my good friend Miesha White told me that today’s work becomes tomorrow’s history. From there, I realized that we didn’t “break for a moment” and “spotlight” Black History Month because we are busy actually doing the work, embedding Black awareness, acknowledgement and appreciation into our new system. Upon this realization, I was reminded of Eric Deggans’ statistic:

“White people often judge racial progress by looking at the past (or history), and Black people judge [racial progress] by comparing [the past or present] to the future.”

IDC has done a lot of good since 2019. And at the same time, there are many ways we are working to do better. I’m proud of what we have accomplished thus far. But I would be lying if I didn’t say, I am always looking toward the future. Maybe subconsciously, I try to be mindful that our progress doesn’t become complacent. That we don’t pat ourselves on the back for one-off Black History Month posts (although those are lovely AND necessary), when our system could benefit from growing representation, reformation…and even reparation.

I know this blog post may not be satisfactory for many because it doesn’t feel like an “official” post about Black history. And in some ways, I’m sorry about that. But in other ways, I’m willing to risk the dissatisfaction because I know what’s ahead. There’s future-facing progress ahead that doesn’t just talk about Black history, but uses it to inform the future.  A future that can uplift how we all measure and celebrate racial progress. And while this post focuses on the ways in which our work at IDC affects our Black community members, our company’s shift towards more: inclusive, accessible and anti-racist systems strengthens our entire community. And especially centers BIPOC experiences. We all get to benefit from and share in the transformation. Again, sacrifice.

This Black History Month, I would like to personally take a moment to honor our Black community members, students, teaching artists, certified professionals (and more) who have entrusted IDC with their journey. Thank you for giving us the grace to grow as we seek to serve our community. Thank you for bringing the “sauce” that our people naturally gift to any and every environment. Thank you for being trailblazers in the field of intimacy work. Thank you for your boldness in navigating an industry that doesn’t often represent you as best as it could, with a determination to make it better for those who come behind you. Thank you for leaving atmospheres better than how they were given to you. Thank you for being you. And thank you for blessing IDC with your presence.

In all, I guess where I’ve landed on this question about “posting on Black History Month” is…it’s best to post about it AND be about it. Happy Black History Month…and every month hereafter. 🖤

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