It’s Black History Month!
February has reached its end. Hopefully, you were extra inundated with stories about American history. I know you’ve seen it but it needs to be said again, Black history is all of our history. Latinx history is all of our history. Indeginous history, Asian-American, LGBT+, any and every marginalized demographic’s history is all of our history. It’s history that should be taught honestly and to everyone. It gives a full picture of what makes our country and society what it is today. It broadens the scope of contributions to America as we know it. From technological marvels and everyday items, to arts, cultural influences, architecture, you name it. These months fill in huge gaps that are missing in required history classes. These months give names that have been and would otherwise be lost to time. Purposefully left out to be forgotten, to minimize the contribution of non-white demographics. These months give credit long overdue to people who deserve recognition denied them because they were outside of whiteness. Our country has a long standing history of using and discarding us. These months have been instrumental in letting these voices be heard, accomplishments acknowledged, broadening understanding, and debunking stereotypes and misinformation.
During an interview, artist Jasmine Cho said, “Privilege is when your culture is taught as a core curriculum, and mine is taught as an elective." Let that sink in. Feels a little heavy doesn’t it? It was a bit of an “Oh! Oh….oh!” moment for me. I’m a Black American. My parents did extra digging to make sure I knew more than the standard pantheon of Black heroes. I even have a comic book set of important Black figures throughout history from Benjamin Banneker to Malcom X. I had a history teacher in high school who constantly went off-book. Mr. Rubio regularly would say, “Now that you’ve read the chapter and taken the quiz, let’s find out what REALLY happened.” I learned more actual, factual, real history that year than in any other history class I’ve ever taken. There are college courses and majors specifically in African-American studies along with a variety of other optional distinct histories. When I read this Jasmine Cho quote a few years ago, it put all of this into sharp focus.
It makes what’s happening today all the more important. We’re chronicling, moment by moment, the movements happening across the country and all over the world. For as much as some people try to deny, the history being made will not be squashed. From Act-Up to BLM, we are seeing history continue to unfold and transform the world.
From inception, ALG has been hands-on in the community. Helping underserved folks, in courtrooms, and in our personal lives whenever and however we can. We do this because these people, these communities are us, we are fighting for you and for us, and doing the work to make a better tomorrow for those that come after us. ALG is devoted to making sure our history is never forgotten, that credit is given where it’s due, and that we and up-and-coming leaders have what is needed to build on what our ancestors started.
Happy Black History Month! May this knowledge broaden minds, open hearts, and continue to expand compassion and justice. Go forth and continue to learn what REALLY happened!
~ Written By Chave’ Alexander