Black History

In celebration of Black History Month, the Dallas Mavericks, Parrish Restaurants and the Parrish Charitable Foundation in association with American Airlines and Fox Sports Southwest are providing DFW Metroplex students 8th – 12th grade the opportunity to compete in the 12th annual Dallas Mavericks Black History Month Essay.

The Five winners selected will receive the field trip of a lifetime with the Mavs and a parent/guardian to New Orleans, LA March 20th – 22nd, 2020 for an educational experience in black history and culture in the Crescent City.

Black History is a living history composed of the past, present and things to come. The field trip will include insights into culinary culture, history lessons and museum visits fill with rich heritage and historic context, black history celebrations and visits to historically black neighborhoods and landmarks.

The 2020 Black History Month Essay Challenge is now closed, please check back January of 2021 for essay challenge information!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2020 BLACK HISTORY MONTH ESSAY CHALLENGE WINNERS!

The Power of Culture Students of all different complexions and ethnicity file into a lunchroom. African American, Native American, Latin American, and Caucasian made up just half of the percentage represented within the school. The room is a cacophony of varying communication—each person fighting for their voice to outshine others. With a lunch tray clenched in hand, a student ventures through the crowd, passing by tables of unknown peers. While making way through the crowd, the student is able to acknowledge a slow gradient forming from one group to the next. Each person resembled a mirror when compared to those they surrounded themselves with —only seeing and acknowledging those who are a physical and mental direct reflection of themselves. The student finds a table full of mirrors reflecting personal relation, takes a seat with a hearty smile, and subconsciously molds into a setting of comfort with those of reflecting similarities. With a limited mindset and afraid of stepping out of the comfort zone, the ability to accept those as they are, as well as build community with different ethnicity, awaits in another cluster of mirrors. Every day, we have the fortunate opportunity to be around people who do not look like us, have the same ethnic history as us, or share the same views as us. However, do we utilize the advantage of this opportunity? In order to connect with people of different cultures and backgrounds, we must first make an effort to obtain an open mindset followed by understanding the differences founded within one another. We, then must learn how to respect those differing aspects, and use it to strengthen us as not only individuals, but as a community – repairing the bridge that connects us all. Poet and writer Suzy Kassem once stated, “understanding culture builds bridges. It is the fastest way to bring the world closer together and form a community”. By attending things such as a communal cultural event, people can learn of the varying factors that are found within each culture through traditions and customs. This opens people’s views to a new understanding of others different from themselves, and in turn, allows them to embrace the things that make each person unique in culture and morals—the ability to see similarities with others before differences.Culture has a great impact on our lives that optimally affect our personalities, values, and views. With a wide understanding of others’ cultures comes the fulfillment of acceptance, along with, a deeper appreciation for ethnic backgrounds different from our own. There is a critical urgency found within making the United States a true “melting pot”, and it is only possible if we accept people for their different perspectives, backgrounds, and culture. We can unite together to strengthen the community we live in. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” We must walk together in order to form a collective community that benefits and uplifts us as one.

The meaning of perspective is a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view. The question at hand is “How Can We Embrace Different Perspectives?” It’s quite manageable; although, humans love to over-complicate such an easy task. In my eyes, perspective is listening to both sides of the story. It takes time to understand both parties and get the problem fixed. The dilemma in society is that people no longer desire to listen; which unfortunately, results in a fight, someone getting shot and/or ultimately dying and in most cases – before their time. Change will not happen overnight; however, it is an attainable goal, if we as a society intentionally learn to embrace and accept our differences TOGETHER! The U.S.A. stands for “The United States of America ” and interpreted by Merriam Webster as being in agreement; harmonious. Our name declares that as a country, we can genuinely be united together and live in tranquility. Martin Luther King Jr. realized this declaration and remained passionate about it; even unto death. Dr. King stated: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.” Taking into consideration all that has occurred in our country, it is crucial that we return to why America was initially described as ‘The Melting Pot’ in 1908 – a fusion of nationalities, cultures and ethnicity. It is time for us collectively to open up our hearts again and sincerely celebrate one another while learning to embrace our differences. Life is too short for racism, hate, intolerance, and injustice which ultimately progresses to bullying, and killing only because someone is NOT like us or as we think they should be.”Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” – Mahatma Gandhi With current issues of racism, police brutality, opioids addiction, mental health, the rise of school shootings, suicide …It is past time to declare a state of emergency and call for immediate open and public discussions about diversity, acceptance and inclusion of all. Although we may not all agree, it’s okay to agree to disagree; yet, on a platform in which all voices are heard and matter. Many are uneducated in the school systems because Black History is taught minimally, if at all. Yet, in order for African American students to respect our history and love our culture- we must be taught our foundation and the importance of our heritage. Teaching the importance of Black History is an opportunity for everyone to see Black excellence at it’s finest and how African Americans have truly made an impact in the world today. When one can value their own inheritance; it becomes less challenging to accept the customs and traditions of others. Respecting other people’s opinions, decisions and religions is key to creating meaningful change together in our community. The Bible states, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, we have a responsibility to treat others how we desire to be treated. Unfortunately, the world today is so desensitized and disconnected and the feelings of others are no longer considered. What the world needs more than anything today is LOVE for it covers a multitude of faults. Let’s love one another in-spite of race, religion and other differences. At the end of the day… #LoveWins! We must become the CHANGE that we desire to see in the world TODAY! “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

We all have the desire to fit in with like minded individuals; furthermore,we all desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. In this world, we have lots of diversity–race, religion, gender, ethnicity, language, and so much more. Diversity can increase productivity and creativity, and when a variety of people come together to create a community, great things can happen. Diversity is beneficial to society. Diversity is beneficial to society because people get to see different perspectives. Seeing multiple points of view challenges people’s judgments. When doing so, we grow and become more innovative. For example, in the movie Hidden Figures, three African American women, brought their intelligence and skills to help put a man on the moon. The white men didn’t believe they could do it considering their gender and race, but to their surprise the women were a tremendous help. The white men saw a different perspective because of the women’s diversity. Having differences advances society because people see different viewpoints and it encourages them to be more accepting. Diversity is also helpful to society because it teaches us to be open-minded. Having diversity opens our eyes and makes you think about how other people live. For instance, in 1972 the President of Uganda, Idi Amin, deported lots of people out of his country because he wasn’t open to the idea of diversity; meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, was accepting people from all over the world into his country, including my family who had been deported from Uganda.Without Pierre Trudeau, my mom and dad may have never had the opportunities given to them in Canada and the United States and may have never met. Because Pierre Trudeau opened his mind to diversity, he impacted the lives of so many people and was extremely useful to society. Diversity also welcomes us to cultural influence. Having cultural influence is so beneficial because it unlocks a whole other world to us; In particular, food and language. All over America, there are so many different foods eaten and languages spoken. Things like Chipotle and Pei Wei are a result of cultural diffusion. Without differences, we would all eat the same thing, and never get to grasp different languages. Diversification has brought us all these different cultures and enhanced our knowledge. This cultural influence has largely improved our society as a whole. Some people argue that distinctiveness can cause barriers and miscommunication; however, I believe it is much more beneficial. Variety brings different viewpoints, open-mindedness, and cultural influence into our everyday lives. So meet new people, explore different cultures, and appreciate the diversity we have in this world.We all have the desire to fit in with like minded individuals; furthermore,we all desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. In this world, we have lots of diversity–race, religion, gender, ethnicity, language, and so much more. Diversity can increase productivity and creativity, and when a variety of people come together to create a community, great things can happen. Diversity is beneficial to society. Diversity is beneficial to society because people get to see different perspectives. Seeing multiple points of view challenges people’s judgments. When doing so, we grow and become more innovative. For example, in the movie Hidden Figures, three African American women, brought their intelligence and skills to help put a man on the moon. The white men didn’t believe they could do it considering their gender and race, but to their surprise the women were a tremendous help. The white men saw a different perspective because of the women’s diversity. Having differences advances society because people see different viewpoints and it encourages them to be more accepting. Diversity is also helpful to society because it teaches us to be open-minded. Having diversity opens our eyes and makes you think about how other people live. For instance, in 1972 the President of Uganda, Idi Amin, deported lots of people out of his country because he wasn’t open to the idea of diversity; meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, was accepting people from all over the world into his country, including my family who had been deported from Uganda.Without Pierre Trudeau, my mom and dad may have never had the opportunities given to them in Canada and the United States and may have never met. Because Pierre Trudeau opened his mind to diversity, he impacted the lives of so many people and was extremely useful to society. Diversity also welcomes us to cultural influence. Having cultural influence is so beneficial because it unlocks a whole other world to us; In particular, food and language. All over America, there are so many different foods eaten and languages spoken. Things like Chipotle and Pei Wei are a result of cultural diffusion. Without differences, we would all eat the same thing, and never get to grasp different languages. Diversification has brought us all these different cultures and enhanced our knowledge. This cultural influence has largely improved our society as a whole. Some people argue that distinctiveness can cause barriers and miscommunication; however, I believe it is much more beneficial. Variety brings different viewpoints, open-mindedness, and cultural influence into our everyday lives. So meet new people, explore different cultures, and appreciate the diversity we have in this world.

Census data tell us that by 2050 there will be no ethnic majority in our country. In fact, between 2000 and 2050 new immigrants and their children will account for 83 percent of the growth in the population. In spite of this fact, embracing diversity seems to be one of the hardest things for this country to do. Diversity has many benefits, and the world should accept the numerous cultures, perspectives, and backgrounds to have them. By interacting with the community, and building an inclusive community, we can create meaningful change in our community.For starters, we must interact with many cultures in order to start making a difference in our communities. The first step to embracing diversity is to get to know other cultures. We must start understanding and associating ourselves with those with a different background from our own, other than just acknowledging their existence. By doing this, we can tear down the concrete barriers created by anonymity between the cultures. This can and will begin to create a society where the different groups not only know about each other, but can rely on each other, knowing that diversity is not a problem. This change leads to great days, with shining futures starting to bloom.Furthermore, our interactions with other cultures must be inclusive. If not, we will damage (the already pretty fragile) relations between cultures. Building an inclusive community includes doing everything that we can to respect all people. This can be giving them full access to resources, or promoting equal opportunity. We must know the other groups, and see each person as an individual. By accepting and including different people and their customs, we reach the goal our society has chased after for so long.While there is a belief that by doing nothing will eventually lead to some kind of Utopian society, we have to start making changes now if we want to see them. The only thing that belief leads to is complacency with fragile relations, and undeserved hatred and hostility between cultural groups. In fact, the only way to reach true diversity and equality in our communities is by including other communities in our interactions. By doing this, we will stand proud united as one, not divided and hostile as many. All in all, by creating a truly inclusive community, we can change and transform our society from a divided world with hostility towards cultures different from one’s own, to a world united, regardless of people’s perspectives, culture, or background. If we do this, the changes we make will be impactful, and society move forward with glorious diversity.

Acknowledging and embracing the different perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds around you is crucial to creating a meaningful and diverse community. Seeing the world through one tinted lenses is a negligent way to go about life; it doesn’t allow you to grow and actually become part of a community where everyone doesn’t think or look like you. In a world where every person comes with a different story, it is important to listen and connect to the ones different from your own. Embracing our differences allows us to grow as people, as a society, and overall strengthen the love and complex interconnection between our lives. History can show us how impactful it is for people of different cultures to come together for a common cause. In the case of the March on Washington, while the majority of the people were African Americans marching for freedom, the presence of white people was key to the success of the movement. It proved that validity of the movement, that it wasn’t “just a negro thing.” Black people appreciated the support of the few white folks and the white folks appreciated the acceptance of them participating in the movement. These two groups of people, with entirely different cultures and backgrounds, were able to come together for a single cause and bring about needed change and unity to a divided society. You need other people to change. Yes, you can start the cause and lead, but the people that back you up are just as important. We cannot walk through life alone. Surrounding yourself with people who have different views then you is just as important as surrounding yourself with people who have entirely different perspectives. It helps you learn how to show empathy, as well as sympathy. Not only being able to be there for someone, but create a connection and relate in a way that helps them feel less alone. The way humans can communicate and connect with each other is a crucial part of positively affecting a single person, or even a whole society’s livelihood. Even in your everyday life, you can see the way our world has diversified. Going to an arts school that prides itself on inclusion, I have gotten to interact with people of all different backgrounds. You come to see that no one story is the same as another, but there are pieces that you can connect with, relate to. Growing up with a group of people that share their experiences through a relatable medium, such as art, I have been able to expand my view of the world. I see that everyone has their own path, but you are never alone. The roads intersect, and those intersections give us ways to identify with other people. Those intersections are the key to being able to drive positive change within each other. In short, the world is a thoroughly complex and diverse place; no two stories alike, yet no two stories are completely isolated. It is important to see the differences in each other to pinpoint the possible connections. Whether you’re trying to create mass change like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or just help a friend through a tough time, acknowledging our difference inevitably shows how to bring ourselves together. In a world still so divided, it is important to celebrate our differences while still being able to connect. We must embrace each other to make sure no one walks alone.

Meet the Selection Committee

Cynt Marshall
Mavs CEO

Theo Hodges
Mavs Sr. Vice President Ticket Sales and Services

Katie Edwards
Mavs Vice President Community Relations

Gail O’Bannon
Mavs Vice President Diversity and Inclusion

Ben Hunt
Mavs Director Youth Basketball

Kenny Bunch
Mavs Service and Retention Manager

Chris Arnold
Mavs Game Night Emcee

Monica Borja
Mavs Photographer

Aston Majors
Mavs Graphic Designer

Victor Ribakare
Mavs Sponsorship Activation Coordinator

Leah Wilson
Mavs Marketing Coordinator