2020 was an unforgettable year, to say the least. The world experienced what some may refer to as a “wake-up call” that racism in its various forms is still very much alive in the US.
From the police-involved death of Breonna Taylor in her own home to the heinous and senseless murder of George Floyd by police, eliciting people’s wrath from every walks of life in the US and the wider world.
As we celebrate Black History Month this February, there is a stronger sense of urgency, determination and empathy in people’s hearts all over the world.
The wake-up call we experienced inherently opened the world’s eyes to the racism prevalent in today’s society. However, it was not a cure-all.
With that said, dedicate this month to recognizing our country’s progress and the somberness of oppression felt.
Black Lives Matter
The George Floyd murder sparked multiple demonstrations, including the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement.
According to a New York Times article, the BLM movements in 2020 “peaked on June 6, when half a million people turned out in nearly 550 places across the United States. That was a single day in more than a month of protests that still continue to today.”
Black History Month is even more important now than ever because it is a time to remember the events that occurred this past year, and it is a reminder to continue fighting for the justice of black people.
The month of February is designated to thrust racial injustice issues into focus. It means pursuing dialogues, highlighting various aspects of police brutality against young black men, discrimination against black businesses and professionals.
The downright racial profiling of people of color doesn’t only happen in the US. For example, the UK stopped and searched one in eight young black males during the coronavirus lockdown, leading to more than twenty thousand searches. Although 80% of the stop-and-searches resulted in no further action, the statistics are alarming.
So, continue advocating for justice and relevant solutions to bring blacks in this hemisphere on an even platform with others in all aspects of life, as it was intended to be before slavery.
Thankfully, social media exists to make information about the matter accessible to all. You can easily search and find black-owned organizations and businesses to support as a catalyst for change.
Continue arming yourself with knowledge about black culture, history and heritage to understand racism and commit to standing in solidarity. Not only does this accessible information allow us to celebrate achievements, but more importantly, it allows us to highlight the wrong.
Black History Month has always been on the back burner of the indifferent and the ignorant. However, it is now thrust to the forefront of everyone, including those committed to speaking out against the evil practice of racism.
These activists now feel more heard. They can deeply embrace the celebration of black history, highlight what the disenfranchised race has been fighting against for centuries and recognize the achievements made thus far.
Making History Today
As we celebrate Black History Month this year, systemic racism comes to the forefront. To continue making history today, we must remember our collective history.
You can get history and cultural heritage in galleries, museums, schools and universities. Although you can find a ton of information on social media, don’t let that stop you from going out into the world and exploring Black history outside of social media. It can be more widely known and appreciated for what it really was all about–without fabrications, to bring about attitude adjustment.
People of color are always making history and will continue to do so. With the general mindset of complacency, consecutive generations have not made the discovery and exploration of Black history a top priority.
People of color hold immense power in this situation and need to lead the charge, therefore researching, discovering, recording and curating information. They have the opportunity to publicize the difficulties Black people face daily in America and elsewhere.
This venture is a decided, deliberate standpoint that involves the support of Black-led organizations, Black culture and all Black people archiving our history. Encouraging and empowering others to understand Black history and culture is a step we can all take.
Change Takes Time
In reality, Black history month should be every month. It’s time everyone understands that Black history and culture and its celebration each year are not a money-making commodity to be taken advantage of and ticked off as the next calendar event.
The time has now come for Black History Month to elevate to the next level of understanding. It’s time to unify and understand the lessons learned over time, especially in recent times. Change the dialogue so minds and attitudes can adjust through the appropriate set of knowledge, presently and for the future.
The eye-opening events in 2020 should start the journey to open up and take Black history to the next level. Our first-ever female, Black vice president, Kamala Harris, was elected this year. Now, that’s making history.
Stay committed to learning about black culture and history so we can fight against racism together. The time is here to reclaim our history and what it stands for. It’s time to reconfigure our past, and the nations’ shared history will be recorded, archived and exhibited for a more equitable future.