February is Black History month. Each year African Americans come together to celebrate their achievements throughout history and the role they play in the United States. The origins of Black History month began in 1915 after the Thirteenth Amendment was passed and freed African Americans from slavery. A growing awareness of Black identity became prominent after the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington mark the 150th and 50th anniversaries of two life changing events in African American history. People like Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglas, Malcom X, Andrew Goodman, and others all risked their lives to fight for racial freedom.
We are all created equal. Those were the words of a wise man named Thomas Jefferson, who had slaves of his own. You may think history is boring, that it’s in the past, and it doesn’t matter but it does matter. Every day we are surrounded by the outcomes that our history has chosen for us. Slavery still exists among us, racism is still spread by hatred and power, and people still chose to look past ideas like white privilege. If we don’t know where we came from how can we begin to understand the perspectives of others and why we chose to act the way we do? Still African Americans are denied equal rights. Still African Americans are subjected to being pulled over more often than white people are. Still African Americans hold a high number when it comes to mass incarceration. When will the discrimination stop?
When visiting the Museum of African American History in Detroit many concepts flew through my head. African Americans were put through things like slavery, lynching, close quarters in ships coming to American, whipping, sexual assault, physical abuse, and a number of others horrible events due to the fact that they were thought to be the “superior” race. White does not mean superior, we are all human and diversity brings culture. Culture brings new ideas and ways of life that we have never heard us. Culture can help us expand our mind and see things from a different perspective. The next time you have judgement on someone else’s culture remember this…. acknowledge other people differences and ask them “Hey why do you do it this way” and you might learn something new.
I would like to end on the note that modern day slavery still exists. Although it may not be as “Black and White” as it used to be, it is still prominent in this country and others. Myself and other staff members at Care House decided to attend a conference about Human Trafficking at Eastern Michigan University to become more educated on the subject. We learned that human trafficking does not just involve sex trafficking but also labor trafficking. It affects everyone and keeping children safe is our number one priority here at Care House. Please, if you are a victim of human trafficking or know someone who is, it is never too late to get help.
- Black History Month Education:
- Museum of African American History: And Still We Rise Exhibit
- Human Trafficking Hotline Information
- More Human Trafficking Resources and information
- The Polaris Project
- How you can get involved: End it Movement