July: Family Reunion:
Part 1: Tradition of Family Reunions
Hey, framily (friends + family),
Growing up, my dad would spend the summers attending the family reunion. He’d prepare to travel south for what felt like weeks. He’d describe a mystical celebration full of family, second cousins, and good eats. He’d smile wide as he’d tell stories of his lineage, of their brilliance, and their deep connections to one another.
I didn’t go until I was 8 or 9 years old because I was always at summer camp during the family reunion, but one year everything aligned for me to go with my dad. I wore a blue cotton dress with tiny flowers. We pulled into the parking lot of a hotel where everyone was staying. I felt nervous, the kind of nervousness you feel when you do something for the first time. We got out of the car, and my cousin Wade was waiting for us. “Hey, couz,” he smiled as he walked to the trunk to get a box out of my dad’s car. I waved through the window. Whew, someone I know. “Hey, couz,” I smiled back with some relief as I stepped out of the car. I slid up next to my pop and took a deep breath. He looked down, grabbed my hand, and walked towards the hotel. What happened next was remarkable.
As we entered the lobby, we were greeted by a cacophony of young, old, deep, high-pitched voices saying, “Hey y’all’. The voices of my family were as sweet as my grandmother’s sour cream pound cake–all full of love, acceptance, and reverence for our shared lineage. I understood the profound magic of my family’s reunion at that moment. Since then, “Hey, Y’all” has become a term I use when I feel the deepest connection (it’s why I use it to address the Bis4BB community).
To reunite at reunions as a Black family in America is a gift. Black people gathering is an act of hope, resistance, and deep, utter brilliance.
So, we are in full celebration mode this summer, loving on the beauty of our Black family reunions and the brilliance that flows through our families. My heart is so full. Reunions are more than just gatherings–they are a testament to the strength, resilience, and love that we share as a family, a collective moment of legacy.
Did you know studies show a BRILLIANT 90% of all family reunions are organized FOR US BY US? We know how to prioritize linking up!
From near and far, we gather to share stories, create memories, and strengthen the ties that bind us. It’s a time to bask in the warmth of our loved ones’ presence, knowing that we are the living embodiment of a legacy rooted in brilliance and joy. So, let’s raise our cups, strike a pose for the family photo in our custom t-shirts, and let the celebration of our brilliance continue!
Caregivers, in this blog, we share five traditions that can support you as you amplify, cultivate, and celebrate Black brilliance with the kids in your care.
Part 2: Connection to Legacy and Brilliance + Why it is Important
Let’s talk about the magic of Black family reunions and why they are more than just kinfolk gatherings. Reunions are our time to celebrate the beauty of our heritage, the resilience of our ancestors, and the brilliance that shines within each and every one of us.
Part 3: Five Traditions to Start at Your Family Reunion
Build a family brilliance board:
- This activity is all about showcasing the incredible achievements and milestones of our loved ones. From graduations and promotions to artistic creations and community contributions, we create a visual masterpiece highlighting our family’s brilliance. It’s a powerful way to honor each other’s accomplishments and inspire the next generation to reach for the stars.
Create an elder altar:
- Creating an altar or space dedicated to our ancestors and elderly family members allows us to honor their wisdom, guidance, and the brilliance they brought into our lives. Decorate the altar with photos, meaningful objects, and their favorite foods or drinks to keep their spirits alive and present during our reunion celebrations. Ask your family to bring things that represent the elders from where they are from can lead to some amazing surprises that will be a ton of fun sharing the stories behind it and discovering who brought what.
Give a Brilliance Lifetime Achievement Award:
- Recognize your family’s brilliance lineage by giving out a Brilliance Lifetime Achievement Award. This beautiful gesture acknowledges the individuals who have made significant contributions to our family, community, or society. It’s a chance to celebrate their brilliance and inspire others to embrace their own unique gifts. Whether it’s a heartfelt speech or a dazzling trophy, this award reminds us that brilliance knows no bounds within our family.
Build a family time capsule:
- Leap into the future with our next activity by building a family time capsule. A family time capsule is an incredible opportunity to preserve our family’s legacy and share our brilliance with future generations. Ask each family member to contribute meaningful items, letters, or videos capturing their hopes, dreams, and achievements. Each year, this time capsule becomes a treasure trove of wisdom, love, and brilliance that our descendants can explore, connecting them to their roots and inspiring them to continue their legacy.
Plant a marigold garden for the ancestors:
- Planting a vibrant garden filled with marigold flowers is a beautiful way to honor and connect with our ancestors. Marigolds have long been associated with remembrance, and their vivid hues symbolize the brilliance that our ancestors passed down to us. As we tend to this garden, we can share stories of our ancestors, their journeys, and the wisdom they imparted, fostering a sense of connection and pride in our shared heritage.
So, let’s embrace the joy, love, and celebration of family reunions. Let’s weave our stories, triumphs, and brilliance into every tradition we create. Together, we can build a legacy of love, strength, and unwavering brilliance that will shine brightly for future generations.