February 1, 2023
Join us this Black History Month as we acknowledge and celebrate the enduring contributions of Black leaders that create stronger communities and opportunities where Black children can experience joy and the many benefits of play and recreation.
At KABOOM!, community engagement is central to the work we do each day. KABOOM! has always believed in the power of community to unify, heal, and rebuild. We are humbled to work alongside communities to create places for kids to play that address inequity caused by systemic racism and that can serve as a pathway for racial healing. This Black History Month we want to acknowledge and celebrate the enduring contributions of Black leaders that create stronger communities and opportunities where Black children can experience joy and the many benefits of play and recreation.
Mary McLeod Bethune with students at the Daytona Educational and Industrial School for Negro Girls. c. 1905. Image from State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.
Mary McLeod Bethune was a leader who truly understood that when the community is engaged, amazing changes can happen. While working to improve race relations as part of the Roosevelt administration in 1935, she founded the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). The council was established to advocate for improved living standards for Black women, their families, and their communities. At its inception, NCNW brought together a coalition of 29 groups that included Black sororities and professional, civic, philanthropic, and educational organizations.
I leave you a responsibility to our young people. The world around us really belongs to youth for youth will take over its future management. Our children must never lose their zeal for building a better world.”
Mary McLeod Bethune’s last will and testament
To this day, these organizations work tirelessly, both together and independently, to uplift their communities and provide the better world Ms. Bethune envisioned for the children of the future. The small sample below of the work and leadership of these organizations exemplify the power of community to create real change for kids and families.
In 2018, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Project Playground restored, refreshed, and renewed 1,908 existing playgrounds across the country with the goal of ensuring kids have safe and high-quality places to play. The sorority built a playground with KABOOM! in 2016 in Atlanta, GA.
The National Black Nurses Association hosts an annual Summer Youth Enrichment Institute to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors, encourage kids to explore nursing as a career, and help address disparities in healthcare between Black and white communities.
To strengthen USA Swimming’s commitment to diversity and provide opportunities for Black communities to learn about water safety, the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority started the Swim 1922 initiative. Compared to their white peers, Black children are three times more likely to drown. This statistic has deep roots stemming from segregation, and the limited opportunities for children of color to freely enjoy places to swim. This program has helped save lives and increased the number of Black swimmers in the United States.
Chapters of the Continental Societies, an organization founded to safeguard the things children need to reach their full potential, funds and organizes programs nationwide. From organizing book drives, planting community gardens, hosting health fairs, and providing nutritional education, their work across the country can be seen in countless Black communities across the country.
Jan 17, 2021
Black children, who want nothing more than to run, jump, play and belong, continue to live in a very different America than their white counterparts.
Jul 23, 2020
Where can Black kids feel like they belong? Where are they truly safe? Every kid, every community, must have places where they can experience the playful moments that become lifelong memories.
Feb 07, 2022
From the very beginning, Black leaders recognized the value of parks and playgrounds and advocated at all levels for investment in, and access to, these spaces.