Black History Month is more than just a trip down memory lane; it’s also the time of year set aside to highlight Black history, achievements, and contributions to human development in the US and to remind young people all over the nation that their history textbooks are still very eurocentric. Americans have differing perspectives on Black History month – some people feel offended that Black people were given the shortest calendar month in the year to celebrate – while others point out that at least they get a month while other races and cultures don’t even get recognized.
After the racial uprisings that occurred last summer, big corporations are attempting to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. UberEats has waived delivery fees at Black-owned restaurants, Warner Brothers is offering free rentals of ‘Just Mercy’, and NFL Commissioner Robert Goodall has apologized for his lack of support of athletes protesting against police brutality. Are these truly celebrations of Black people and culture or are these merely blanket declarations of support wrapped up as a PR stunt?
Reading books, attending workplace equity training, and having important conversations about inequality in America is just the beginning. How can we use this month to ensure that social justice is achieved? Black people are responsible for one of the oldest, most sophisticated civilizations on earth, dating all the way back to Egypt. Social justice means challenging the racial injustices that have been ingrained in our society over hundreds of years and recognizing Black people’s contributions in everyday life.
Written by: Kelly Stewart