Lately I’ve been walking the sharp edge of letting go and remembering. Releasing what no longer serves me while creating space to honor and respect all that came before. In this space, I have found the raw essence of Black History Month. Most, when reflecting on this beautiful month of the year think of well-known Heroes like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, or even Nelson Mandela. When I sit, reflecting on what represents Black history to me, I also think of those whose names often go forgotten, Terence Crutcher, Charleena Lyles, Alton Sterling, Michael Brown Jr., Rekia Boyd, Trayvon Martin. So many beautiful lives lost to the hands of those blind to the beauty in Black history, yet kept alive by the fiery tenacity burning in the souls of those who do.
I have found, that these stories, our stories, often get swept up in the confusion of the media. Lost in the sterilized history of textbooks, with our truths buried beneath the languages of native tongues, our histories dance on the edge of almost being forgotten. The closer we inch to forgetting, the more we become blinded to our comfort with distraction. It is this comfort that is keeping us all from celebrating the beauty in honoring. It is easier to hide behind the guise that “it’s only happening to “them”” or “that’s not our problem”. Instead of allowing ourselves to feel, and accepting that we are all in this together, we run. Run in an attempt to escape reality when it swells up inside us everytime injustice dares to lay its heavy head in our already sorrowful laps.
While distraction keeps us comfortable, honoring and dialoguing about Black history challenges. It does not allow us to run, it does not give us the space to create excuses as we disregard our realities. In fact, Black history challenges us, all of us, regardless of our race or ethnicity. It dares us to dream bigger, protest louder, and not be afraid to go to the very edge of what makes us most uncomfortable. Reminding us to challenge stereotypes and all beliefs we are made to accept for ourselves, Black history teaches us that we are not limited.
So, to all of the Black pioneers before us, those known, as well as those whose names and efforts are often forgotten, we salute you, for it is you who taught us to walk on the wild edge of everything. Through your lives and contributions we all are able to see that nothing is too impossible to achieve and it is on these wild edges that we are truly able to live. Continuing to hold this tender space in your honor and memory will be nothing short of a gift.
“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise.”-Maya Angelou