The Black History Month Pass the Mic series provides a platform for Events DC employees to share their stories and experiences regarding Black history and culture.
Today, we are passing the mic to Leon Duncan, marketing consultant in the Events DC Marketing and Communications Department and Sports and Entertainment Division. Leon has been an Events DC employee since 2022.
Black History Month means something different to everyone. For Leon Duncan, Black History Month has two unique purposes. One, he believes it forces our society to pause and acknowledge Black culture and its impact on our country. Two, it sheds light on our progress in race relations, while also serving as a reminder that there is a lot more to be done.
When asked what he loves most about his Black culture, Duncan has a simple, yet impactful answer: its resilience. "As many know, the Black community has always been resilient. We have created businesses, founded schools, helped send men to the moon and even became president of the United States. And through this resilience, we have found greater strength, innovation and sense of purpose, " said Duncan.
Among the many moments in Black history that have shaped his life, watching a Black man become president was monumental for not only Duncan, but also his children. "I would have to say that being able to have my kids see a Black man elected president created a sense of hope for their future," said Duncan. Barack Obama was president from 2012-2020 and continues to be an inspiration for many in the Black community.
To support the Black community, Duncan believes one of the best things we can do is be present. "We have all been blessed with a specific skill set that makes us unique as individuals," said Duncan. "The first step in making a difference is showing up."
What is the best way to ensure Black History Month is more than a month? Duncan said the Black future—and investing in it. From buying from Black-owned businesses to mentoring young Black professionals to raising beautiful Black children, Duncan believes the power is in our hands. In Washington, DC, our vibrant Black history and culture has led to a thriving business community and creative entrepreneurship. Need a reference for Black-owned businesses in the District? Get the list from Destination DC.
Finally, Duncan pointed out the importance of acknowledgement. He believes it is our responsibility to know and recognize the accomplishment of Black Americans in order to move forward as a nation. "We as a people have and continue to play an integral part in the growth of this country," said Duncan.
Black History Month represents a dedicated time to teach Black history, amplify Black voices and honor the triumphs and struggles of African Americans in America. Events DC is proud and excited to pay tribute to the Black stories that have helped shape our city and nation.