While we recognize Black History in February, Black history exceeds the 28 days (or 29 days in a leap year) dedicated to acknowledging the contributions of Black people.

Black history is American history and without it we will never learn the full story.

Teniqua Broughton, executive director at the State of Black Arizona, put it succinctly, “Black History Month means knowledge building, legacy creating and racial injustice healing. It’s about teaching the generations to come that we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us.”

Recognizing the contributions made by Black Americans is vital to understanding the true history of our nation. Knowledge is power!

“That’s why, to me, Black History is more than a month. There are knowledge-based activities that should be done beyond the 28 days. There is information about Black history that exists every day that we should learn. It’s American history! So how can we transition this education beyond a month?” Teniqua asked.

Teniqua works with the State of Black Arizona and sits on the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE) Superintendent African American Advisory Council serving as a voice of the Black community in education decisions. She’s also been an important community partner to many organizations – including ours – who seek to help close the opportunity gap and improve outcomes for all students.

“People have asked, why is there a Black chamber? A Hispanic chamber? I tell them, it is because when we have been in the same places and spaces, we have not been able to amplify our voice.  Our voice may have been heard, but was it listened to? A lot of times it hasn’t,” she said.

“So being able to have organizations such as State of Black Arizona in the community allows us to make sure that we are at the forefront of our own issues; as we know and live the experience every day.”

The State of Black Arizona was established in 2015 to collect and analyze data while understanding it is an important factor in creating an equitable future. According to their website, the future of the Black community is dissolving, and its future requires a concerted effort to come together in both meaningful and productive ways.

Celebrating Black History All Year The State of Black Arizona also aims to provide a voice for greater interaction and leadership development among the Black community as well as sparking interest in the community and increasing efforts for change. They execute their work by releasing reports and publications addressing issues like business, education, civic participation, etc.

“This work is so important because in a place like Arizona, that has such a rich culture of BIPOC (black, ingenious and other people of color) there is no reason why there shouldn’t be an opportunity to make sure that all of those voices are amplified,” Teniqua said.

So, what can non-black Arizonans do to help amplify Black Arizonan’s voices?

Teniqua desires for people to embrace the discomfort of the unknown in their hearts and minds and dive into curiosities of Black history, heritage and culture, which is a part of the story that is American history.

“I do know the Arizona Department of Education is working on an initiative to develop an African American curriculum for schools to implement. That is a necessity if we are working to have equity in underserved schools and communities.”

And for those of us outside of school?

“Honoring the cultural contributions of Black people. Do you apply any of your curiosities to watch movies and visit places you generally don’t? Those outside of your community?” Teniqua further explained. “Go to places and spaces where we celebrate Black/African American culture. Create an experience specifically at a museum, a theatre, at a popup space, where there are people who do not have the same cultural identity as you.  Promote emerging or talented Black leaders. Those are some tactical things to do. Some strategic things could be acknowledging your own biases for how you show up, interact (even unintentional) or avoid interactions with Black Arizonans. Do you speak up about injustices you see, hear or experience?

“Try to push your curiosities so you have a broader opportunity to honor and celebrate people in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re doing it just to support a transaction but you’re doing it to support the human being and growth of people who should have the same opportunities and privileges everybody in the United States of America,” she added.

An opportunity to consider, while the African American Leadership Institute (AALI) works to engage Black/African American professionals within the institute, it is not limited to just African Americans.  Other races can use this as an opportunity to take a deeper dive into the issues in our community and concerns in Arizona. The Black/African American Leadership institute is a tool used to educate and empower.

The AALI is run by the State of Black Arizona and is committed to the individual development of African American leaders in order to increase participation from the community in key civic, political and workforce related leadership roles.

“If we all educate and acknowledge Black history all 12 months of the year, when the official Black History Month comes, it’s about highlighting new accomplishments, uplifting new voices and addressing new history. Arizona history as our voice is American history, a journey towards achievement some level of equity,” she said

For more information on the State of Black Arizona, click here.

For more information on the African American Leadership Institute, click here.

About Teniqua Broughton

Celebrating Black History All Year As Executive Director of the State of Black Arizona, Teniqua Broughton has proven efficacy in enhancing systems, educating communities, and equipping citizens of Arizona. She is passionate about using data to advance the organization’s mission by compelling both leadership and the grassroot community to create solutions that benefit the lives of others.

Teniqua proved her dedication to grow civic leaders in our community by leading the transition of the African American Leadership Institute (2017) from Valle del Sol and cultivating another institute to start in Southern Arizona in 2021. The program is purposed to develop African American leaders by increasing civic, political and workforce leadership roles and enhancing participants’ understanding of the role culture plays in a variety of circumstances, with specific attention to the enduring influence of African Americans in Arizona.

Teniqua has received countless recognition and awards for her contributions. In January, she received the ASU 2021 MLK Community Servant-Leader Award. In 2017, she received the Arizona Champion Award for the Central Arizona region from her Flinn Brown fellows for significant contributions to civic leadership.

Teniqua has her master’s in educational administration and supervision, bachelor interdisciplinary studies in educational psychology, with an emphasis on theater for youth and certificates as certified nonprofit accounting professional (CNAP) and in equity & inclusion.