“What Black History Month Means to Me”
In this month, remembrance is key.
In this month, we acknowledge the inevitable footprint of African Americans in America.
In this month, we remember the laborers of this nation, the ones who were stripped away from their lands and enslaved to establish the foundation of this country’s prosperity.
As an African American girl living in the United States, in this month, I show others why I take pride in my heritage and how the cultivating elements of my being rests in the essence of my skin color. Our skin color screams strength, grace, perseverance, and soul. It is the same skin that endured and overcame the history that surrounds the melanin in my eyes, lips, face, and body. It makes me proud to have my God-given complexion. We like to think our color doesn’t define us, and it doesn’t fully, but it certainly reflects our culture and character.
In this month, we remember the degradation, dehumanization, and terrorism that people witnessed and we are empowered by the legacy of greatness that transcends our oppression.
In this month, the overwhelming light and accomplishments of my brothers and sisters who were relentlessly broken down and made insignificant shines brightly.
In this month, we recognize that having dark skin is more than just a biological abundance of melanocytes and more than just a distinction of external appearance, but rather it is having to acknowledge the greatness of those before you and look towards a future where you can be better for the sake of those after you. I am cognizant of how much of a blessing it is to be where I am and who I am today.
In this month, I remember that in essence, there is a unifying force that empowers, stimulates, and promotes greatness!
Black history month is important because it encourages us to increase our collective consciousness about black history. We don’t truly realize how much there is to learn about it until we look into it. Taking the time to appreciate what has been accomplished, despite the adversity is empowering and we are encouraged to live through their legacy. I think we really come together as a community when we celebrate such an intersectionality of history and culture.
Ramata Franklin ‘16 and Cienna Benn ‘16
Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit www.maranatha-hs.org.