The start of February today signals a variety of different things for members of the community. It may mean bracing ourselves for increasingly frigid weather or thinking about Valentine’s Day. For seniors, perhaps it means easing up on work ever so slightly. For all of us, however, February should signify the beginning of Black History Month, especially in light of the deeply offensive video that recently surfaced from another New York private school. As members of the Record board, we would like to openly condemn this racist behavior. Our actions, no matter their intent, have the ability to deeply harm those around us. We urge members of our community to remind ourselves of the racism that taints our country’s history and use this opportunity to celebrate African-American people and culture.
February has been designated Black History Month by every president since 1967 to honor the contributions and accomplishments of black individuals in American society. Instead of focusing on the black narrative as a story of slavery, racism, and oppression, let’s aim to achieve a fuller understanding of black history. Let’s appreciate every aspect of black history and culture–arts, politics, science, religion, and more. Tonight’s Black History Month film screening and panel discussion, for instance, is a great place to start.
This February– and last week’s inspiring Unity Week– should act as the jumping off point for these conversations of racism, equity, inclusion, and justice. Let’s strive to include others, reflect on all aspects of history, and consider our impact each and every day. Because when we can achieve this, we can become a stronger and more cohesive community.