Black History Month, at its core, is a time to remember the achievements of those who were discredited and not respected during their time because of the color of their skin. This injustice not only invalidated their dreams and hopes but their legacy as well.
Historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Katherine Johnson, and many more have paved the way for people like me to be respected and have equal opportunity in America. If it weren’t for them, I would have never been able to do the things I’ve done, or share my ability to write and report on the world at large.
On Feb. 21, Mr. Fred Hodges, the Director of Multicultural Relations at Robert Morris University, came to talk to our school about the idea of success, and loving yourself for who you are. Not only was he a great speaker, but he had some great things to say about the idea of chasing your dreams and not allowing yourself to be held back by your own personal struggles.
At one point in his speech, Hodges said, “Your experiences make you who you are. And it’s up to you to take those experiences, and grow from them to become the person you want to be. Whether or not they were positive or negative, you have to get stronger from them, instead of weaker.”
This obviously has many similarities with the ideas of Black History Month. It is a time to be proud, not only of who you are, but how (specifically for African-Americans) our ancestors’ sacrifices have allowed us a chance in this wonderful country we know today, and strive for our dreams to become a reality.
While we are still not as equal in some areas, and racism still burns bright in a loud minority, we have risen so much since the times of segregation and oppression. So while February may be over, it doesn’t mean the love and respect for those who came before us will end. And hopefully, every single one of them will be remembered as the progenitors of African-American independence until the end of time.