What does Black History Month mean to you?

Happy Black History Month!

This article is an open diary on what this month means to me. Enjoy!

What’s good y’all! Happy Black History Month! It’s been a while.

I apologize for the long absence, that’s on me.

I’ve been using the past few weeks to prepare for the new semester of school. Online learning hasn’t gotten the best of me, at least not yet.

As a black woman, it means educating people on my people’s accomplishments for twenty-eight days despite me doing so for the entire year.” (In photo: Angela Davis)

Outside of school, I’ve been working part-time, learning how to drive, & spending time with family.

Now that we got the pleasantries out the way, I really hope you enjoy this piece.

As recently as last month, I knew I wanted to publish an article in February. But as luck would have it, I had no idea on what topic I’d be writing about.

I was oblivious to the fact that we’re currently in the year’s most prominent month, (after March, my birthday month) Black History Month.

“It’s a month where people can get more educated on the plight, accomplishments, and beauty of black people.” (In photo: Malcolm X)

In all honesty, I knew it was Black History Month. How couldn’t I?

These twenty-eight days are being celebrated across the country. You can turn on the TV, walk down the street, and see the world completely immersed in the celebration of these four weeks.

Everyone’s doing their part to commemorate this month.

And that’s amazing to see. Anything in regards to Black culture is dope. Why do you think other races enjoy it so much?

“Black History Month to me means honoring all the black people who have died because it was through their efforts that we are here today, and this is regardless of whether we know of them or not.” (In photo: Rosa Parks)

In all seriousness, being educated on the impactful leaders, influencers, and revolutionaries of the African American community has been rejuvenating.

Especially considering how 2020 played out.

We witnessed innocent black people murdered at the hands of law enforcement, while others were mistreated. And if not the police, they’ve were treated wrongly by the Caucasian community.

“It means a time where we value our culture & history & also a time to educate others as well. Black people/voices are constantly oppressed so this is a time where we shed light on those individuals & also to love ourselves & our skin.” (In photo: Tupac Shakur)

And speaking from experience, for a handful of weeks, it was scary to be a black person in this country.

Put yourself in my shoes, or any person who resides in the ghetto for that matter.

If I walk through my block at the wrong time, there’s a chance that I cross paths with the police that patrol my neighborhood, for almost no reason at all.

Who knows how our interaction could end.

“It means black excellence, the black struggle, and the black power.” (In photo: Viola Davis)

What if I come across a young man, close in age & skin color, handling a weapon he has no business using, with murder on there mind.

What is there to do then?

How about when I leave my community & travel to Lower Manhattan for example?

I bump into people a few shades lighter than me, yet threatened by my very existence.

More often than not, it’s a lose-lose situation.

A month where we celebrate black legends & their achievements in history.” (In photo: Muhammad Ali)

Therefore, the month of February, a time where I feel honored to be an Afro-Latino, is needed more than I realized.

I never understood the value of Black History Month as a child. In high school, all that mattered was how short this month was, and our mid-winter breaks.

But as I grow older I’m learning just how significant this month actually is.

“Black History Month is about bringing light to the creators & innovators of history that were denied their chance to shine. Black history is celebrating & enjoying our people who are constantly oppressed by non-POCs.” (In photo: Claudia Jones)

So, I decided to write an article on it.

As you can see by the title, it reads: What does Black History Month mean to you?

It’s a question I thought of while showering.

I presented this question to the friends of my social media accounts, to see how they’d respond.

Their answers, which will remain anonymous, are in quotes under the pictures of the African-American historical figures found in this piece.

“A month to appreciate those before us who helped make our lives easier.” (In photo: Madam C.J. Walker)

But, before I asked the question, I thought about what this month meant to me.

And here’s my honest answer.

There are three reasons.

First, it means learning more about the trailblazers who came before me.

Second, it means discovering inspiration from the biographies of my idols.

And third, it means proudly representing the Afro-Latino community to the absolute fullest.

After listing those reasons, I decided to dig deeper & ask myself the question from another perspective.

“It just means the African Americans can be recognized but somehow the craziest things happen this month it’s the shortest month of the year.” (In photo: Clarence Avant)

Why is Black History Month important?

Personally, it traces back to the point I made, about what the month means to me. Learning more about the pioneers before my time.

But when I say pioneers, I’m referring to the under-the-radar heroes.

I’m familiar with greats like President Obama, Malcolm X & Martin Luther King Jr., and the role they played in breaking barriers for my generation. Who isn’t?

“It’s pretty much is world history. Black people have had their hand in everything.” (In photo: Joey Bada$$)

But that’s all I knew growing up. Deep down I knew there were more pieces to puzzle than what I was being exposed to.

That’s not to discredit the achievements of Dr. King or Malcolm, but what about Angela Davis? Or Henry “Box” Brown? Or Kalief Browder?

Their stories deserve to be shared as well. Not to say that they haven’t been, but they should be revered as equally as their counterparts.

As we transition, the last thing I’d like to touch upon is what should be done during February, or every month for that matter.

“Celebrating African American culture & accomplishments.” (In photo: Frederick Douglass)

Just to ensure that we do our part to inflict change within our circles.

First, support black businesses. Give back to the establishments that give your area character. Whether it’s a restaurant, clothing brand, or a service, show your appreciation by investing in them. Rather than a Caucasian-owned corporation.

Next, acquire information. Take time to research the historical figures that paved the way for you. Possibly an African American leader created something essential to your life or stood for a message you’re in agreement with.

Find out who these people are.

“A celebration of cultural excellence & unity on shared experiences & acknowledgment of those that worked to pave the way for generations to come.” (In photo: Harriett Tubman)

Lastly, spread the love. Pay it forward, and do what you can to educate others on black history, black culture, and black excellence.

You wouldn’t know who Rosa Parks was unless someone taught you about her. It’s only right you teach someone about her as well.

I hope that’s what I’m accomplishing with this piece.

And I’m not saying you have to take my advice. They’re merely suggestions at the end of the day.

“Black History Month to me means exploring liberation, and ways we as a people (globally) have continued to resist & exist. Since the development of colonialism & racial capitalism, the use of African peoples as capital, our ancestors have always fought for freedom. Our history doesn’t begin with slavery, but our future depends on us ending it.” (In photo: Kwame Ture)

However, it doesn’t hurt to try. You never know the impact you may have on someone’s life.

Nonetheless, those are some of my thoughts on Black History Month. I hope you enjoyed reading my open diary on this topic.

Be sure to check out those quotes I mentioned earlier in the writing. There were some really insightful answers to the question I asked.

To conclude, Happy Black History Month once again!

“It’s a month of empowerment & a reminder of how great our history really is. Feel like we should not only focus on black trauma during black history month but our accomplishments & influence in America instead.” (In photo: Kobe Bryant)

If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!


Da Hood Journal

Special shoutout to those who shared their response to what this month meant to them.

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