To help make it a little easier for you to observe Black History Month, Lyft will pay for $10 off your ride to Black history museums and other cultural sites this month, according to an announcement on the Lyft blog. Lyft is offering the $10 discount through the month of February, and it’s also good for a ride to Black History memorials and Black-owned businesses, the company says. If Lyft serves your city, it’s such a great opportunity to honor the vital contributions of Black people throughout history.
Lyft is offering rides in 34 U.S. cities and Toronto, Canada, but the discount is limited to one ride per Lyft account. To get the discount, use the discount code associated with the city you’re getting the ride in; all the codes are listed on the Lyft blog.
“Much has been done, much remains to be done, and Lyft is honored to step up today to do our part to continue building inclusive and more connected communities while helping provide greater opportunity for the leaders of tomorrow,” Lyft wrote in its blog post about the discount. This promotion also coincides with the anniversary of Lyft's partnership with Black Girls Code, Because Of Them We Can reported; using the round-up-and-donate feature in the Lyft app, you can also support this organization, which supports Black girls who want to pursue careers in technology.
Black History Month isn't just about remembering historical events, though. Going to Black History Museums and supporting Black-owned businesses elevates the contributions of Black people in history and Black people right within your community. And that’s a major part of why Black History Month is so important, too.
Black History Month in 2019 has special importance because it marks the 400th anniversary of when Portuguese slave traders brought 19 enslaved African people to mainland English North America, CNN reports, setting the stage for slavery in America. “Black lives mattered in 1619, to the extent that they facilitated the creation of the world's most expansive industrial and consumer economy — riches that were built on the unpaid labor of African-Americans,” Peniel Joseph wrote for CNN.
But the true picture of how Black people are treated in America — including even what slavery was like — is often erased and hidden in America. Take, for example, the way one textbook publisher wrote about slavery as recently as 2015, saying, “The Atlantic slave trade between the 1500s and the 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations,” according to CNN. The language “workers,” of course, implies that enslaved people were being paid.
But Black History Month is about more than revisiting trauma; it's about celebrating the contributions and triumphs of Black Americans from the past to the present. Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, wrote for The Guardian that Black History Month was created “to battle a sense of historical amnesia and remind all citizens that Black people were also a contributing part of the nation. [It's a] way to counter the invisibility of Black people and to challenge the negative imagery and stereotypes that were often the only manner black people were depicted in popular culture and in the media.”
If Lyft isn't offering any rides in your town, there are other ways to celebrate Black History Month, like reading books by Black authors or volunteering at Black organizations. And, remember, you don't have to stop supporting Black businesses or organizations once February's over. But if Lyft is offering this promotion in your area, it's a great opportunity to take advantage of.