Black History Month: Facts and Figures

After Holiday celebrations every year, the Nation begins to prepare itself for observing Black History, and I have participated for as long as festivities were available in my school, church, and community. This year, however, I have allowed the first few days of February to pass without publicly announcing what responsibilities I will tackle, as I have been reflecting on how we personally contribute to our identity everyday which makes the black experience a celebration every year. Because of our unprecedented contributions, Black History will always exist within World History, but to uphold a specific time and space where we celebrate blackness is to not only defend why we Nationally celebrate, but question how we personally dedicate to our enrichment. As a young, black woman who is continuously learning to negotiate the role that race plays in how I view the world, I am not only interested in learning historical facts, but the ideas, practices, and philosophies that have created those facts and made history. To further answer questions of identity in America, I have decided to interview persons, family and friends who have been leaders in their respective fields for our present cultural, social, and economic movements.

Many of the people that we witness leading civil rights movements are often labeled as ‘martyrs,’ but what influences revolutionary activity is one’s own experiences. When creating or participating in any movement, selfless sacrifices are necessary to fulfill a purpose for the movement, even if we do not initially recognize what those sacrifices are. For many of our historic leaders, tragic death has been the result of sacrificing their personal lives to public cause, which is a testament to the complexity of being a leader, participant, and spectator. Societal struggle has forced complexity out of our lives, and our individuality is now a necessity in society. Our individuality is what births the creativity that makes personal moments unique and revolutionary enough to suggest a public movement.

Taking a more attentive approach to this year’s Black History Month was heavily influenced by recollections on how we responded to the brutalization of black bodies in 2014 alone. As American cops forced black bodies to surrender their lives, America witnessed its people transform into protesters to claim our citizenship. Nothing exemplifies Black History more than young minority citizens declaring freedom of the present time without permission from present circumstances. By giving ourselves permission to protest in 2014, we have provided ourselves a space to create results in 2015. Through creative protest, we not only redefine what it means to live as a minority in the United States, but we question what it means to live as a majority, as we seek equal opportunity above the status quo. The men and women who are healing against violence reminds us that Black History Month is more of a dictation for the future of our success, and less of a dwelling on our history of victimization.

Recently declaring Black History Month as “Black Future Month,” The Black Lives Matter Movement is an example of how our bold ideas are big actions by mirroring such initiations of Carter G. Woodson and allies. There comes a time in every fight for freedom where we are confronted with how speaking truth to power means putting actions behind our words. As a writer, I am a believer that actions do not speak louder than words, but that words are actions, however, as an activist and writer, words and actions have to work together. As an activist and writer, there comes a time when our stories have to develop from not only being a voice for peoples hope, but a listener of peoples lost hope. There comes a time when our voices can be heard through consistent listening to our issues, instead of spotlighted voices on sporadic occurrences of mass violence. Like Carter G. Woodson, we must recognize America’s loopholes in learning the black experience, but we must bear witness to our own experiences to begin teaching. Like Carter G. Woodson, I am excited to share experiences and stories of people who have inspired my activism, writing, and my life through their own words.

Visit my Twitter (@ SisKahrima) & Instagram ( kahrimaxwinston ) for updates on when interviews will be posted.

Peace and Happy Black History Month,

Sister Kahrima.


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