What does Black History Month mean to you?

This month, we checked in with some of our instructors to explore their relationship to Black History Month—and celebrate the deep culture that has shaped them.

Today, we’re spotlighting two recess instructors using black history month to show off their craft—and support their community. 

Meet Paris of Paris Fit Studio.

Archeologist turned personal trainer and gym owner Noel Paris (also known as just Paris) aims at offering challenging and accessible workouts. She is currently hosting a Black History Month fit tip/class every day Monday through Friday at 4pm ET.

Recess: What does BHM mean to you?

Paris: Black History Month to me means excellence! We are amazing beings with so much talent and intelligence that are not celebrated enough. I am black excellence, and I will continue to make history in my realm of work to motivate children who look like me.

Recess: Why have you decided to host a class dedicated to BHM?

Paris: Our community needs more encouragement and information when it comes to our health! Having classes to educate one another along with beneficial exercise is one step towards longevity for our people!

Recess: What do you hope to give back to the black community both personally and professionally?

Paris: I hope to give motivation and positivity to the black community. I am using my platform every day to motivate our people to reduce obesity rates, heart disease rates, high blood pressure rates, and more. Personally, I will always give my all when it comes to being a leader and the voice of a healthy lifestyle for all.

Meet Irene Ives of Irene Ives Workouts.

Irene is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and Certified Group Fitness instructor, and her classes range from barre to strength training.

Recess: What do you hope to give back to the black community both personally and professionally?

Irene: As an occupational therapy assistant (six years) and a group fitness instructor (two years), I want to spread knowledge about overall health and wellness in my community. Fitness is so much more than just working out! It’s an activity, that when performed regularly can increase our mental health, aid in recovery and longevity in our lives. I hope to inspire and help more people of color to realize fitness is a part of self-care, it’s a form of showing our bodies love. As people of color, we tend to overwork ourselves, put everyone before us, and not even consider what we need at times. Fitness doesn’t need to be complicated and stressful like our lives at times. It should be enjoyable, fun, and rewarding, like the life we all deserve and work towards.

Not sure how to plug into Black History Month? Here are other ways to Get Involved: 

  1. Make an effort to support Black-owned businesses.
  2. Donate to charities that support anti-racism and equality. 
  3. Educate yourself about noteworthy Black figures from history.
  4. Attend Black history events in your community (virtually or in person) to continue your education.
  5. Support Black filmmakers and authors.

As always, please note that these practices can start this month but carry on throughout the year. 

Finding unique ways to learn more about Black History while honoring the ancestors can range from making a donation to participating in a mindful meditation where the proceeds go to a Black-led nonprofit.

Regardless of how you celebrate this is a time to have in-depth conversations that will allow you to grow as a person—and learn more about the world around you.