Students from OMEGA NU and the Educators’ Club discuss why Black History Month is important to them.
Join OMEGANU and Educators’ Club. OmegaNU meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month. See the website for meeting information. Join the first meeting of the Educators’ Club on Thursday, March 4 at 5 p.m. PST. Register here. The NU student community is invited to our Black History Month Celebration Game Night! Wednesday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m., PST. Register here.
Black History Month gives me, an African American female, many opportunities to gain more knowledge about the history of my own people, to listen to and enjoy traditional music and to attend enriching events. This is also a time for highlighting the many accomplishments and contributions that Black Americans have made to the scientific, educational, and social justice fabric of the United States. It is unfortunate that we, as a country, only recognize the contributions of Black people once a year during the month of February. With so many decisions being made on the basis of a person’s race– or the color of their skin and without regard to the content of their character and the importance of their work–Black History Month provides an opportunity to salute the many accomplishments that often go unnoticed.
This is a time to rejoice and reflect on how far we’ve come as a race, and how far we’re going to go. Giving thanks to my ancestors for being brave and paving the way for excellence. Black History Month means honoring the struggles so many African-American men and women faced, educating the others on the challenges they still face, and celebrating the challenges they’ve overcome. This charge is the essence of the concept “Sankofa,” derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. Sankofa means, “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.”
“Sankofa” teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we as a people have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of can be reclaimed, revived, and preserved. Black history matters to everyone. I’m glad we have the opportunity to celebrate and recognize Black History because to really truly understand our nation’s history, we all need to better understand Black History.
Come join Omega NU and PRIDE on February 24, 2021 from 5:30pm-6:30pm for a Jeopardy Game to not only test your knowledge of the phenomenal impacts that Black Americans have had on our country both past and present, but possibly learn more than you ever knew. There is a chance to win prizes as well. We look forward to seeing you there!
Marissa Mosley, member of Educators’ Club reflects on the Resilience and Joy of Family
When I think of Black history, I think of the stories that have been told of incredible resilience and persistent joy in the face of unimaginable circumstances. I think of the countless tales of perseverance and innovation in the midst of extreme adversity. Stories of civil rights leaders who never faltered in the face of opposition–black inventors, entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, and countless others who paved the way for myself and others who look like me. I think about families that pass down stories of love and triumph from generation to generation.
For me, Black history begins with my family. Storytelling is bound to take place when the Mosley family gets together. I have grown fond of the precious moments we spend telling stories as we sit around the table. My favorite stories are those that my father tells of a distant past, a past that I could not have imagined living, one that lives vividly in his memories–stories of family members that I have never had the chance to meet. Like my late grandfather, “Wild Bill” (how he got that nickname is a story in itself). My grandfather grew up in Mississippi long before Black people had civil rights. He had many run-ins with those who hated the color of his skin. There were no police officers who he could call for help or lawyers that would seek justice on his behalf, but, as my father tells it, he never backed down in the face of opposition. He worked hard to provide for his family despite the challenges that he faced. And he stood up for those who he loved, even if it meant losing his life.
As I listen to my father tell stories of a past that is not so distant to him, I notice that his reminiscence is not one of brokeness. He speaks of his bold and unafraid father with a gleam of pride in his eyes. It is evident to me that he is not telling the story of a broken people, but of a people who made the most out of an impossible situation, who clung to their family and valued the little that they had–of a people who survived off of faith, family, and laughter.
I am honored to have Wild Bill’s blood flowing through my veins, to have such a rich heritage, a heritage that transcends bloodline and tells the story of a community of people who fought to overcome a heavy-laden past. To me, Black history is about Black superheroes, like Wild Bill, who never faltered in their stance against injustice, who effected change that made a difference in the lives of those who came after them.
Black History Month is a month in which we honor all that Black people have contributed to American society, particularly those like my grandfather and my father, a Vietnam Veteran.
It is a month in which we take time to recognize black pioneers, activists, and everyday families. Black history is American history. It is not confined to the month of February; it is alive in the stories that we tell and in the experiences we share.
Would you like to contribute your story for Black History Month or Women’s History Month? If so, please email email@example.com.