Looking for something to do with the family this month?  October boasts Breast Cancer Awareness, Domestic Violence Awareness, Global Diversity Awareness, Positive Attitude Month, Photographer Appreciation Month, Learn to Bowl Month, Smart is Cool Day, World Smile Day, Do Something Nice Day, You Matter to Me Day, Make a Difference Day, Get Smart About Credit Day, Columbus Day, Kids Music Day, Train Your Brain Day, Halloween, and so much more.

Lonnie G. Bunch, III

                       on: National Family History Month...


It’s Photographer Appreciation Month again. We know family members love to take selfies, so use them to help the family get to know one another better. You can create an Instagram page or photo-booth on your website for sharing the pics. Be sure to identify those pictured and keep it family-friendly.

All of the boys are from single parent homes, and being raised by their moms. Some of the moms think the boys need male presence and guidance and have shrugged the incident off as “that’s what men do”. Others disagree and believe we should bring the boys together as a group to see how they felt about the situation, what message they got out of it, and explain why it was inappropriate. And then have my cousin apologize, and make sure the boys know that when someone tries to make them take part in something they feel uncomfortable about they should feel free to walk away—especially when there are other adults around.

I think this is a teachable moment, and we need to make sure we handle it correctly. To do nothing is not the answer. I’ve had several conversations with my son, however I think that the situation should be addressed with all of the young men. You’ve been talking about how to raise good young men. What do you think should be done?

Did you know that National Family History Month is observed annually during the month of October. Since 2001 it’s an opportunity for historians, storytellers, and genealogical and historical societies to celebrate and commemorate the deep and rich history of families. And, did you know that helping to commemorate the history of African-Americans is Lonnie G. Bunch III, an American educator and historian, and history museum curator and administrator, who is passionate about American history and helping people learn from the past. He is the founding director of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, spending  14 years overseeing the creation, which opened three years ago. In June of this year he was named Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, with the responsibility of 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, 7,000 employees, and a budget of $1.5 billion. Bunch is now the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the first African American, and first historian to serve as head of the Smithsonian.

In an interview on CBS’s Sunday Morning, Bunch said, "It's my job to tell the unvarnished truth, to illuminate all the dark corners of the American past". "In a museum that's gonna talk about difficult issues, you try to find the right tension between those stories that are gonna make you cry…but there are also the stories that give you that resiliency, that make you smile."

"When we did surveys, the #1 question people wanted to understand was slavery. And the #1 question they didn't want to know about was slavery. So, I knew that slavery and freedom had to be at the heart of this museum, because it's at the heart of what America was and what America still is."

“What's clear to me is that the Smithsonian is part of the glue that holds the country together." Of the NMAAHC Bunch said, "We started with a staff of two". "We had no idea where the museum would be. We had no collections. We had no money. This museum collected 40,000 artifacts, of which 70 percent came out of basements, trunks, and attics of people's homes." 

Did you know that Dr. Ione Vargus, donated documents belonging to her father, Lt. Colonel Edward Dugger, commanding officer of the 372nd Infantry to the museum? According to the NMAAHC Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives: The Papers of Lieutenant Colonel Edward Dugger are comprised of military and personal records, photographs, postcards, correspondence, financial records, military orders and memorandums, promotional certificates, personal notes, academic notebooks, invitations and programs of military events, newspaper clippings, and African American military service research materials and books collected during and after his time in the Massachusetts National Guard.

To read more about Lt. Colonel Edward Duggers artifacts, CLICK HERE.

To watch and/or read the full interview on Lonnie G. Bunch, III CLICK HERE.

The Family Reunion Institute welcomes Sheila Pradia Williams to the Advisory Board!

by Sylvia Ford-George 

It’s October. Summer is done. School is in full swing. Most 2019 family reunions are over and planning for 2020 is underway. Time to fall back into family and all of the routines, grooves, lessons and love that make family work.

October falls into place with lots to see, do and appreciate as family. We look after one another and hone our roles as husbands and wives, significant others, moms and dads, children, siblings, grandparents, extended family and friends, nurturers, mentors, counselors, disciplinarians, accountants, appointment makers, and chorekeepers. We endeavor to stay fit, eat better, be positive and encouraged. It’s not always easy, but it’s what we do as family. Every day. Every week. Every month. Every year.

There are several observations this month that affect families, including Family History Month, Breast Cancer Month, Domestic Violence Month, Global Diversity Awareness Month, Million Minute Family Challenge Month, German-American Day, Filipino American Heritage Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, Italian-American Heritage Month, Polish–American Heritage Month, Mother-in Law Day, and Eat Better, Eat Together Month.

This month’s FAMILY TIME has close to 100 activities to make great family fun out of. The REUNION TIP OF THE MONTH shows you how to make a project out of Photographer Appreciation Month and the selfies family members love to take. And WORTH REPEATING and DID YOU KNOW? share information about Lonnie G. Bunch III, curator of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

It’s interesting that the responsibility we feel for looking after one another falls short at times. At a family reunion year’s ago, a group of ladies from different generations were laughing and talking about things that happened that year—the same as always, until one member just happened to mention that she had a “bout” of breast cancer to which several others said “me too”, and they began to share their stories. They all said that at the time they were going through it, they didn’t want any one to know. It’s the same with those living with domestic violence. They don’t want anyone to know. But shouldn’t our caring for one another include being there in the not so good times as well as the good times? Shouldn’t we be able to express what’s wrong as well as what’s right? What keeps us from talking about our struggles and learning/growing from the steps we take to see the struggle through? With this being both Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Month I hope we all find the strength to share, encourage and support those in need.  

October is also Positive Attitude Month. So let’s think positive and expect great things for ourselves, our families, and friends. Let’s encourage our school-aged family members during Earth Science Week—and beyond by helping them realize that being smart is cool. Let’s get smart about our credit, and don’t forget about our parents on Take Your Parents to Lunch Day.

We hope you have a great October viewing the falling leaves, radiant fall foliage, and spending time with family. Be well.


  • Family Time
  • Reunion Tip of the Month
  • Worth Repeating
  • Did You Know?


- October photos from Yahoo images.


Everything you need to  plan  your family reunion is here. 

Copyright 2014-2019  Family Reunion Institute. All rights reserved.


I recently found out that during this year’s reunion one of my cousins pulled several of the young male teens together, and showed them inappropriate photos. My son was one of those teens. I was furious! I wanted to go to his house and beat him down but the other mother’s convinced me that violence wasn’t the best way to handle the situation.


"There is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history. And there is no higher cause than honoring our struggle and ancestors by remembering."

"While the African American community is no longer invisible, I am unsure that as a community we are taking the appropriate steps to ensure the preservation of African American cultural patrimony in appropriate institutions. Whether we like it or not, museums, archives, and libraries not only preserve culture they legitimize it. Therefore, it is incumbent of African Americans to work with cultural institutions to preserve their family photography, documents, and objects. While African Americans have few traditions of giving material to museums, it is crucial that more of the black past make it into American cultural repositories."