Black History Month: What it Means to all of us.
As a Caucasian male that grew up in a suburban neighborhood in Connecticut, it is almost impossible for me to understand the struggles of an African-American male growing up in the inner cities. It is almost impossible for me to understand what it was like to live through slavery. It is almost impossible for me to understand what it was like living through segregation.
For me, Black History Month is a time to bring attention to the people who shaped the African-American community. People such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglas, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. It is also a time to remember the people who died during the time of slavery and segregation because they refused to be looked at as inferior. I feel it is a time that we should honor these people and showcase the work they did. These people gave it all so that their ancestors would not be subject to slavery. These people gave it all so that no African American would ever have to sit in the back of the bus. These people gave it all so that white and blacks could learn together in the same schools, drink from the same water fountains and be able to play on the same playgrounds together. Black History Month is a month in which we should all look at America today and be proud of the progress that has been made.
I also feel Black History Month should be a time where we should hold leaders of the African American community accountable. People such as Al Sharpton and Quanell X who have done a disservice not only to the African-American community but to America as a whole. These individuals do everything in their power to stoke the fire and claim racism left and right. They are the ones behind riots and, in the Quanell’s, case the avocation of killing police officers. These people must be held accountable to the African American communities. These people give any cause that they support a bad name. They disgrace the legacy of the leaders that came before them.
In conclusion, I see Black History Month as a time for people to celebrate the sacrifices made by great African-American leaders in the past. I see it is a time to take a firm look at America and see where we can make positive changes in places where it is needed. Not by violence, not by rioting but by having civil discussions. There are members of this community that want to believe they are living in 1960’s America. They want to continue to rehash issues that aren’t there and further divide our country. This Black History Month is one that I hope we will see a growth in the areas where we hope to make progress. I want to see the relationship between police officers and these inner city communities to continue to get stronger. We need to curtail the gang violence in these areas. We need to give the kids in these areas hope that they can make it out of their poor neighborhoods. We need to show them that America cares about them just as much as any other child in this country. This Black History Month needs to serve as a time of people coming together and a time of healing. Since Trump has taken office we have begun to see leaders of this community sit down with him, trying to explain the plight of their communities. We have seen athletes meet with him. We saw Dr. Martin Luther King’s niece come out in support of him and we have seen his willingness to listen to their concerns. Trump needs to appeal to the African American community and begin to gain their trust. His goal needs to be unity, bringing all races close together. Black History Month is a chance to look at the past with a renewed focus on the future and improving America. It is a chance for us to use the examples set by Dr. Martin Luther King and other leaders who came before us and to keep their message and legacy alive.
So as we celebrate Black History Month, we should all ask ourselves how we can make a difference in defeating prejudice and hatred within our own communities.