Black History Month 2015: Difficult Reflections

1 Feb

Black History MonthThis is now the fifth year that Social Justice For All (SJFA) has celebrated Black History Month. The past year has proven unequivocally why we still need Black History Month. I can only hope all of us in the United States are doing some reflection around our own racism and encouraging conversations around issues of racial disparities and systems of inequities and oppression. I also hope as we have these courageous conversations we have a better understanding of what racism is.

In the wake of Ferguson, Cleveland, New York, and all of the other cities where black voices are being silenced, we have an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations around race and racism.  I suspect many of us are still feeling the sting of the Supreme Court’s decision to dismantle the Voting Rights Act; continuing their racist agenda, they then upheld voter suppression in Texas.

Equity and Equality are still just a dream when 13% of the people in our country identify as African American (we know this percentage is not accurate because of the many barriers that prevent some African Americans from filling out the census) and far fewer than this are represented in most walks of life. Sadly, the places where African Americans are over-represented include poverty, dropout rates, and incarceration, further evidence that institutionalized oppression still plays a major role in how things work in America. In states like Alabama, blacks that are or were incarcerated lose their right to vote for the rest of their lives – so much for the 14th Amendment.

I would love to see a point in history when we don’t need Black History, Women’s History, or LGBT History Months. I don’t see that happening until we have a level playing field, which would require eradicating racism, misogyny, and homophobia. This also requires that we see accurate representation in history books of Blacks, Women, and LGBT folk. I can only hope that all of these targeted populations can find ways to build community and work together around issues of equity and equality.

Let’s kick off Black History Month in this historic year with an eye to so many wonderful accomplishments. Let inspiration drive hope to fuel more success and let each of us step back and reflect where we might be implicated in colluding with systems of oppression and racism.


10 Responses to “Black History Month 2015: Difficult Reflections”

  1. prideinmadness February 1, 2015 at 9:00 am #

    I have had no idea what to do in terms of Black Lives Matter and all the police violence that has been publicized a lot lately (I say this meaning there has always been institutional violence towards the Black community but now it’s really being shown/cared about). For work I’m making a flyer called How to Be an Ally. It’s been helpful.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt February 1, 2015 at 9:17 am #

      I hope more of us look at ways we can become allies and be in solidarity. Peace, Michael.

  2. Central Oregon Coast NOW February 1, 2015 at 9:09 am #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

  3. Dr. Rex February 1, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Black History Month …. reflections!!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt February 1, 2015 at 9:30 am #

      Thank you for reblogging this, Dr. Rex. Peace, Michael.

      • Dr. Rex February 1, 2015 at 9:38 am #

        Always, dear friend …. Hugs!!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt February 1, 2015 at 9:39 am #

        Thanks, Dr. Rex! Thank you for all you do for issues around equity and equality.🙂

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