“History has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”– Former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Celebrating Black History Month and acknowledging the impact Black Americans have had on America is honorable, but the ability to take that knowledge and apply it to the struggles of today is a superpower.
Black History Month 2021, coming just months after widespread protests, riots and injustice, now holds even more significance than in years past. According to Google Trends in 2021, Black History Month gained more American interest than it had in the last 17 years, undoubtedly due to summer 2020.
When currently faced with a task as big as defeating racism, Black History Month provides the insight that can help guide those fighting against racism.
“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.”– Journalist Susan L. Taylor.
Reflecting on history not only shows that change is possible but how change can be achieved. When I saw fire in the streets of Seattle, I remember the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and how far America came peacefully. We have to be reminded of how possible change is without destruction and Black History Month proves it.
At a time when America seems divided and justice isn’t being upheld, fire in the streets is raw and natural anger. Through reflection, Black History Month allows America to recommit to the ideals of fighting with love and not hate.
“We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”– World Record-Setting Olympic Athlete Jesse Owens.
At Pierce College, opportunities to learn about Black history were sprinkled throughout February, including events like Protect the Queen: Uplifting Black Women hosted by the Pierce College EDI CARES department and “Let’s Talk About Black History” with Rashad Norris.
The Pierce College Office of Student Life has done a great job at providing events for people to engage with Black History Month. I particularly enjoyed how Norris’s presentation focused on lesser-known names in Black history.
Where events promoting diversity can fall short is outreach. The people interested in attending Black history events are more likely to be liberal enough that the provided information will only further align with their beliefs. Not that there’s nothing to gain, but that it’s too easy to begin preaching to the choir.
Being in a political bubble is part of what holds social justice back. The effect of being in a bubble can be seen in the algorithmic way Facebook recommends only what you like or how people who only watch Fox News are practically “living on a different planet,” as said by Former President Obama.
Black History Month brings awareness to Black issues, but the ultimate solution is for everyday people to have difficult conversations and break others out of their political bubbles.
This Black History Month comes with the burden of 2020. To reconnect with the ideas that shaped today’s America, and will bring it through tomorrow, take advantage of the years of history that already brought change to everyday life.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost
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