Black History Month, what is the point?

It’s that time that time of year where America pretends to acknowledge the achievements of African Americans and the history of the civil rights movement. I debated in the face of “modern” America if there is a point to paying attention or honoring it.  It feels like most of this country seem to be re-writing the facts or don’t believe in them because racism, sexism, and classism are in en vogue. So why bother?

Then I remember these quotes:

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. – Maya Angelou

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. -Elenor Roosevelt

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. – James Balwin

Each of these quotes got me through last year. So I am choosing again to honor this month.  I am going to “light a candle” by focusing on what is good and great about the past and present.  Face the pain, so I don’t accept the narrative of injustice as the “fact,” and I will do it with joy, compassion, and humor. Because the vast irony of black history month is despite the whitewashing of the historical record, African American, hell people of color around the world, did not break and did not stop and did not give up their ambition, hope or humanity. We lived and changed the world in spite it all, and we will continue to do so.

Happy Black History Month!

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