Black History Month is much more than the material covered in public education. The stories run deeper than that of the textbook and of colorless photos of pain and strength. They are of powerful people who rose above their struggles, continue to fight for their right to live, breathe, be and flourish in a society preprogrammed to suppress and deny them their place in the world.
To Erika Washington of Make it Work Nevada, Black History Month was a time to study a ‘distant’ history covering the ‘regular folks’ we all learned about in school, but with time and with life experiences reasoned that Black History is quotidian, an ever-growing reality of Black folks in our own time and in our own neighborhoods. Ruby Duncan, a mother of the welfare rights movement, who stormed Ceaser’s Palace in 1971 and is responsible for the accessible WIC programs in Las Vegas; Ruby is living history. There are so many other folks who have made an impact in our community whose stories aren’t told; Senator Joe Neal, Nevada’s 1st Black Attorney General, Aaron Ford, Steven Horsford, the 1st Black Congressman in Nevada, the list is extensive and their stories imposing. They are all Black History who continue to make a mark on our community. Living history is precious, as a result, we become more appreciative of the here and now. We are surrounded by and a part of history.
Erika is living history.
Michael Lyle is a local Journalist whose perspective of Black History focuses through two lenses; the first through a lens of being apart of Black History and the other as a Black Journalist; upon learning more about his own history and that of the many leaders through history has impacted him; their struggles, their sacrifices, their journeys each play a crucial part in the development of Michael. On this journey of discovery with the goal in mind being solely knowledge and truth, frustration and anger find their way to the surface as horrible truths are brought to light, and with this light, current events are made more clear.
Michael is living history.
Eden is an activist, YPP member, and empowered woman whose view of Black History Month is a journey, filled with events and people who, as one continues on the journey, impact the story and concern many groups of people from all over the world. Black History isn’t sanctioned to the United States but rather spans the entire world and impacts every group of people. Acknowledging this has lead to many changes in the way Eden presents, views, and establishes her presence in a space; using the power of the stories she has learned along the way, she uses her voice to bring forth real change within her community. She has spoken to individuals of power in the community and has used her voice to advocate for Black students across the state.
Eden is living history.
Adam Johnson is a school leader whose efforts to educate young people about the power of their history and use history as a force of empowerment. At his institution, students are Black history throughout the year thus furthering the extent of the course material and allowing students the time to fully understand the impact of Black history. With the educating of young people he hopes that through instruction, these same young folks go into the world with the courage, self-confidence, and discipline to achieve big goals and to educate the rest of the community. Students are leaders in training, the responsibility of educating them should not be taken lightly, this is why Black history is taught alongside the general History courses, to help students see themselves as a part of this evergreen history.
Adam is living history.
We are all apart of this living history. We must educate ourselves and those around us about the true history of our nation and about the value of others to the collective American story.