Happy Black History Month, Rookwood community! 

Black History Month is the time for our entire community to come together to reflect on black Americans’ pasts and celebrate their achievements. Each of our stories may be as varied as the items our shops sell here at the shopping center, but we believe that these differences are what actually bring us together, not divide us. Black history should be a part of all of our stories, no matter our ethnic background. Throughout this entire month, we invite everyone from the Rookwood family to find ways to connect with and honor the black men and women in our community. 

Before we break down a few ways you can honor Black History Month, let’s take some time to reflect on how Black History Month began. After many successful smaller initiatives spread throughout the country following the civil war, February was officially dubbed “Black History Month” in 1976. President Gerald Ford declared that the United States needed to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then, the nation has united every year to celebrate how far the black community has come. Rather than focus solely on the past, this month, we encourage you to support your fellow black community members’ future success right here at Rookwood Commons and Pavilion, starting with these three ideas.

Read the Stories of Black Authors

Studies show that long-term readers are more easily able to empathize with others, including those with different beliefs or backgrounds. Both factual historical accounts and fictional characters give readers empathy and understanding that encourage unity in our community. When we read stories from a black author’s perspective, we gain better insight and perspective into their reality. Our very own Joseph Beth Booksellers carries a great selection of both nonfiction and fiction books written by black authors. 

Our four favorite nonfiction books written by black authors are: 

  • Becoming by Michell Obama
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, an anthology edited by Jesmyn Ward 
  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Our favorite fiction books written by black authors are: 

  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler 

If you are a black Cincinnatian, we would love to hear your story! Share yours with us on social media. You can find us on Instagram @shoprookwood and on Facebook. 

Discuss Equity and Inclusion

Even better than reading stories from a black American perspective is actually sitting down and having an open dialogue. What better place to do so than at your favorite Rookwood Commons and Pavilion restaurant? Stop by Buca di Beppo for family-style servings that will encourage collaboration and connection or share a drink at The Pub to foster friendships new and old. No matter where you meet, this is a great opportunity to: 

  • Connect over similarities and celebrate differences.
  • Consider real solutions to a more equitable reality. 
  • Discuss how you can improve diversity and inclusion at your place of work. 

Support Health and Wellness

The 2022 theme for Black History Month is “Black Health and Wellness.” And, after recent years, we couldn’t imagine a more perfect theme to guide the annual celebration of Black History Month. The pandemic has brought to light the disparity of access to quality healthcare and the negative impact that has on the black community. You can support the wellbeing of our black community members in a few ways. A few places to start might be to: 

  • Gather a group of friends from various backgrounds and take a class Club Pilates together, followed by brunch at First Watch. 
  • Schedule a donation ride at Cyclebar to raise funds for black organizations. 
  • Buy fresh groceries at Whole Foods and donate to the Freestore Foodbank. 

How will you celebrate Black History Month? Share with us on social with #CincinnatiBlackHistoryMonth.