This month is Black History Month. It is a time to reflect upon where we have been and to plan for the future. I often spend a good deal of time re-visiting a history that many would like to forget…even some black people. It is a train of thought as dangerous as it would be to forget the reasons our forefathers wrote the Constitution and the thoughts behind the subsequent amendments…forgetting our foundation.
It is important to remember slavery, lynching, the KKK, Jim Crow laws, voter suppression, the warriors the likes of Emmitt Till and his mother, Rev. Dr. King and Minister Shabazz and many other freedom fighters, because it reminds us what happens when a nation tolerates prejudice and unjust laws. Jews don’t forget the Holocaust, we don’t forget our wars, and black people cannot forget their history either.
And for those that say all is in the past, all one has to do is look at the voter supression and the racist rhetoric of the last election to know that we can never become complacent about prejudice and injustice.
Although we remember the past, it cannot hinder us from the battles of the future. There is so much work left to do and more and more obstacles being erected. But just as those before us did not give up, neither can those of us today. We are in a battle, and I emphasize “we” because we are all in this together. The battles for the economic stability of our country, healthcare reform, a solid education for all of our children, voter empowerment and equal rights for all people…these are the battles for “our” future.
Hopefully, the lessons learned from the mistakes of the past can help us going forward.