Communities In Schools Celebrates Black History Month: Honoring Icons of the Past and Embracing Changemakers of the Present
As the nation observes Black History Month (BHM), Communities In Schools® (CIS®) proudly joins the celebration by recognizing the profound impact of historical icons and shining a spotlight on the remarkable achievements of students, alumni and others in our national network who are shaping history in the present.
For more than 45 years, CIS has empowered millions of young people to achieve their goals in school, succeed in the workforce, and thrive in life. We have witnessed students and alumni making momentous strides, achieving significant firsts, and leaving lasting marks on society.
We are honored to recognize and showcase trailblazers across generations this year during Black History Month. By celebrating the achievements of those who have paved the way, we aim to inspire future leaders, ensuring a legacy of resilience, excellence, and progress.
- Aisha Walters, CIS Principal of DEI Programs and Initiatives
History in the Making
In 2023, CIS alumnus Cyril Jefferson achieved a historic milestone, becoming the first Black mayor (and one of the youngest) of High Point, N.C. Cyril previously served as an operations intern, youth development consultant, and student support specialist with CIS of High Point. During the Youth Advocacy Panel at CIS National's 2023 Achieve In Life Summit, Cyril made a surprise appearance and shared how his CIS experience will shape his governance.
CIS of Atlanta alumna Mya Schofield is a proud graduate of Benedict College, a Historically Black College & University in Columbia, S.C. While attending Benedict College, she made history as the first woman to hold the position of Student Government Association President and was crowned the 79th Miss Benedict College.
Jerron Wheeler, Esq., a CIS of Jacksonville alumnus, graduated in the top 25% of his class at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. An advocate for social change, he currently works as an assistant public defender, adjunct professor at his alma mater, University of South Florida, and a dedicated member of the CIS of Jacksonville Board of Directors and Alumni Advisory Group.
These and other alumni journeys exemplify the impact of CIS in fostering diverse leaders who shape the future.
Throughout February, the CIS National Office and network will highlight the achievements of Black leaders and changemakers through various events, social media campaigns, and collaborations with local partners.
Embracing the 2024 BHM theme “African Americans and the Arts,” CIS also aims to recognize and honor the profound impact of its affiliates and community partners on various artistic realms, including visual arts, music, and cultural movements, to name a few.
CIS of Tennessee Program Manager Karimah Taylor is an artist and arts advocate. After applying for and winning a grant from the Metro Arts Commission, three murals were painted in schools CISTN supports. Local muralists were hired to meet with current students from the schools to help them paint a message to leave behind for future generations of students. You can learn more about the project here.
In January, during Home Week, National Office team members collaborated on BHM content by creating posters for our affiliate, CIS of NOVA, to hang in their schools. They also shared how CIS supports the future generation of Black leaders and changemakers through short videos like this one from Ruben Watson, Director of Foundational Giving.
Communities In Schools invites you to join in the celebration by following us on social media and engaging in the conversation using the hashtag #CISBlackHistory.