2020 was a difficult, tumultuous year riddled with a global pandemic, discrimination, and bigotry, but it was also a year where black voices were finally starting to be heard. The progress of the Black Lives Matter Movement shows that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes we need to look a little deeper, and harder to find it shining. One thing this past year has shown is that people are finally ready for change. There is still much work to be done, but we are hopeful.
During Black History Month it is important to learn and understand black heritige and the hardships that they have confronted throughout history: slavery, inequality, discrimination, bigotry. In order to move forward, we need to understand the social, political, and economic imbalances African Americans have faced and continue to face. Black History Month also provides a platform to celebrate black excellence, achievement, and contributions to all avenues of society. It is a month where we not only have to take accountability for the inherent systematic racism that still exists, but also serves as a catalyst for hope, possibility, and transformation.
In her inaugural poem, ‘The Hill We Climb,’ Amanda Gorman states,
“The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it
If only we're brave enough to be it”
The BLM movement, along with other activist groups, has reignited important, necessary conversations: police and justice reform, healthcare and childcare inequality, unemployment disparities, and deep-rooted racism. We should all use this month, and year, to grow, support, encourage, and stand up. In 2021, we shouldn’t have to prove that Black Lives Matter, but unfortunately it seems like we do. We need to overcome the racism that is ingrained in society and replace it with a world where diversity is not just supported, but celebrated and championed.
We need to learn from our past in order to succeed in our future.