Black History Month: A Time to Remember and Take Action

The other day I watched the most horrific, confusing, and unexplainable video of police violence inflicted on Tyre Nichols. The video brings light to the brutality that resulted in the death of yet another young Black man. I’m left to wonder what Dr. Anna Jolivet would say about this recent event, even more so because Dr. Jolivet was a humanitarian who believed in finding the best possible version of yourself.

Dr. Jolivet spoke about being kind, caring, and respectful professionals. A renowned local educator, civic activist, and philanthropist, she often spoke of the burden Black people face in having to hold themselves to a higher standard to change the negative perception of us held by society. Unfortunately, Dr. Jolivet passed away before being able to see a world in which we no longer hold that burden. What she left behind, however, was one of many ways in which we can continue that fight toward equity and justice. Through the establishment of the African American Legacy Fund (AALF) at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Dr. Jolivet created a community and vision to bring together the people, money, and goodwill to ensure all our children, youth, and families have the opportunities and resources to prosper.

Throughout Black History Month, we look to our local heroes, such as Dr. Jolivet, whose professional and philanthropic efforts gave many students in Tucson a chance to further their education through college scholarships. Dr. Jolivet was not only a respected member of our community but also an advocate for higher education and advocate for Black excellence. She worked to highlight the importance of Black History every day of the year. Now is an exciting time to become involved with the African American Legacy Fund – to actively participate in the fight toward racial justice and commemorate the numerous contributions of Dr. Anna Jolivet.

AALF works to improve the quality of life for African Americans who live in Southern Arizona by funding and enhancing the capacity of nonprofit organizations with innovative, collaborative approaches to improve educational, health, and economic outcomes.  AALF facilitates scholarship opportunities for Southern Arizonan students, supports black-led nonprofits and black-owned businesses throughout Southern Arizona, and helps fund the African American Leadership Institute to increase African American participation in key civic leadership roles.

I also think Black History should not be limited to February but should be celebrated every day. Dr. Jolivet and other local leaders pioneered the work that has enabled a new generation of Black leadership to continue supporting our community in ways that allow Black people to thrive rather than survive. AALF is committed to embracing our history and using it to galvanize Black lives that affect change, ensuring that there is always a Black voice at the table.

Dr. Shannon Roberts
Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Diaper Bank
Advisory Board Chair, African American Legacy Fund