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Staff editorial: Black History Month

Courtesy of U.S. Embassy New Delhi via Flickr
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a prominent civil rights leader, fought for racial equality throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Dr. King is undoubtedly one of the more notable figures in American history, and has left a significant mark on how our country has continued to come together in the years since the Civil Rights Movement. Designated as Black History Month in 1976, the month of February is a time where we reflect on the many men and women who have positively impacted the legacy of African Americans and appreciate all of the contributions that they have made to our society.
The editorial staff at The Tiger recently came together to discuss why Black History Month is so important. This editorial is a summary of their thoughts and comments.
First and foremost, it is always important to remember the past and reflect on the actions of the many people who have brought us to where we are as a society today. One should always take time to recognize the unforgettable achievements of those who have pushed the boundaries of society and embarked upon unprecedented endeavors in their time.
We as a society have a problem in that history is often told from the viewpoint of those who teach it or those who were “victorious,” so there are times when not everyone is represented fully and in a historically accurate way. That is why it’s crucial to set aside time to commemorate the history of the African American community.
One question posed by the staff was, “If we still have to set aside a month to honor black history, does it demonstrate that we haven’t come as far as we think in terms of racism?”
In United States history or world history classes, many times you won’t see very many faces of color and you have to go out of your way to find their stories. In recent months there have been many racial divisions that have become obvious across the country for a variety of reasons.
February is a time where we can take time to reflect on the stories of so many African American citizens who have challenged the country throughout time to rethink how we love and treat one another. We cannot forget the struggles they have faced, but it gives us hope to see the challenges they have overcome and the progress that has been made. They have empowered us to rethink how we see social justice, while still leaving plenty of room for improvement. It’s also empowering to continue sharing their stories and keeping their contributions alive for generations to come.
It’s also worth noting that it’s very easy to identify members of the African American community in pop culture and the contributions that they have made, but often we forget to consider other African Americans who have made so many other contributions to fields such as science and government.
Of course, it was a giant milestone when President Barack Obama was elected as the first African American president. Under his administration, many other milestones were achieved in terms of appointing citizens of many different marginalized communities to a variety of positions and giving them a voice.
As President Obama said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Black History month reminds us that it is not the color of our skin that divides us, but rather our sameness as one human race that unites us. This month is about education. Be sure to take some time this month to attend one of the many events taking place across campus that honor black history. As Ola Joseph once said, “Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.”

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