Black History Month: the importance, the history and why we should talk about it today…

PSA: This post is not meant to bash all police officers. I understand and appreciate their role they have in the community. This is just to raise awareness on cases that officers were not doing their job and humans were stripped of their rights.

Today is February 5th.

As most of you know, February is Black History Month. Since 1970, Black History Month was a National observed in the United States. In Canada, February was nationally observed as Black History Month since 1995. This month is a time to celebrate and remember all the important people and events in history of the African Diaspora.

So, why talk about it today especially?

I would like to start off by saying that we should be remembering the history every single day and celebrating all the wonderful people. This entire month is made to really raise awareness and create discussion. I am not of the African American descent but still continue to educate myself on the Black history. I am so grateful for films that have raised awareness and taught me more about it. Books like “Hate U Give” that really give me a new outlook on police brutality are so important. Just like with the history of my own descent, I think it is important to learn about others. Especially others who have struggled in their own history and continue to be oppressed.

Today in particular is an important day in the month. Today is Trayvon Martin’s birthday. He would have turned 24 today.

Who is Trayvon Martin?

Trayvon Benjamin Martin was a 17 year old African American boy who was fatally shot by the police officer, George Zimmerman. This young boy was visiting a convenience store to purchase a bag of chips. George Zimmerman reported him as looking suspicious and decided to confront him. During the confrontation, Zimmerman claimed there was an altercation and he had to shoot Trayvon as self defence. There was no evidence that there was any need for “self defence.” Trayvon Martin was unarmed. He eventually was charged in Martin’s death but was acquitted of the charges by the jury. This created a lot of anger within the community, which led to protests, riots, etc.

I chose to create a post on the importance of Black History Month today because of Trayvon Martin. Because young African American men like Trayvon need to be remembered. They need to continue being heard and have a voice. This is most definitely not the only case out there where an innocent boy was killed by the police wrongfully. I remember hearing about this tragedy on CNN and being shocked. My heart broke for his family that now had to deal with this. They had to deal with not only the loss of Martin but they had to deal with the murderer not having any of the consequences they deserve.

I was the same age as Trayvon Martin when he passed away. The thoughts of someone who was my age being discriminated against because of his skin colour. Especially to the point where he was murdered by someone who I always thought was there to protect the community. That really hurt my soul and shattered my outlook on the safety in communities. I knew these voices need to be heard. I knew that not only black people should be standing up, but EVERYONE should be!

We should all be the voice of boys like Trayvon Martin because beneath that skin colour, we are all the same. We all bleed the same colour and are all human beings. None of us deserve to be treated with disrespect.

Importance of Black History Month

Not only is it important to continue standing up for tragic cases like Trayvon Martin. There are many other reasons why we should continue having a Black History Month. Although, we do need to remember that Black History should not only be remembered for one month. It should be something remembered year round. At the end of the day, like Morgan Freeman says, “Black History is American History.”

Honouring the historic leaders of the black community

It is important to remember individuals who sacrificed and fought for racial equality. The bravery these individuals carry is something that needs to be commemorated. Individuals like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Edmonia Lewis and many others. These people deserve to have their stories told and celebrated.

Celebrating will create awareness for the history and struggles of racial inequality for all people.

I know from personal experience that there is not much knowledge schools give individuals on Black History. Fortunately, months like this create the awareness and give individuals the knowledge they need. The knowledge they need to understand the struggles, the history and celebrate as well. It is important to have ALL individuals understand this history. The awareness is needed so ignorance is reduced. People need to understand the struggles the black community has faced because they will then be able to emphasize with the rage in cases like Trayvon Martins.

Racial inequality continues to exist and the fight still must continue

Unfortunately, people like to think that racism does not exist anymore. That there is no need to celebrate Black history because there is no racial inequality anymore. However, this is FAR from true. Even just my visits to the States have proved to me that racial inequality continues to exist. An example of this is the stereotypes I have heard from people while there. Although, Canada is not racism free, it is definitely not as prominent as the States. People are extremely open about it in America.

During my visit, I met people who actually believed that black people are bad and they do not like being around them. I was quick to respond that not all of them are bad and there are bad people in every community. They openly have told me that they are against them and do not hangout with them. This absolutely disgusted me. People generalized a giant population just because of a few bad apples. No race is 100% innocent. It is important to not be judgemental and judge an entire race based off a small group of people.

These stereotypes have negative consequences people do not realize…

The stereotypes that have been created and people freely talk about have a much bigger impact than we realize. They are part of the reason why cases like Trayvon’s are justified by some. People overlook this case because they associate black boys with crime. They assume Trayvon Martin was in the wrong and Zimmerman’s actions were justified. These stereotypes are causing situations like this to be okay.

I hope individuals continue to talk about these tragedies and fight for their rights. We can not ignore and overlook these tragedies.

Educate yourself on Black History this month…

I hope all of you take some time to educate yourselves on something new in Black History. This could include watching some of the many films or documentaries that express the raw truth. This includes reading about individuals that have made a profound impact on the community. It is important to place importance on learning about black history like you do about your own history. Or the history of your country, as taught to you in your education.

Feel free to leave any comments regarding your thoughts. Why do you think it is important to have a Black History Month?

Feel free to contact me directly through my contact page by clicking here.

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