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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.

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Hispanic heritage month has begun and here at Make the Road NV, we have decided to elevate and celebrate every aspect of our heritage by making it Latinx Heritage month; the definition of Hispanic is “relating to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries” purposely leaving out many indigenous people in Latin America that never spoke Spanish. As a step toward inclusion, we have included all our Latino/a/x brothers, sisters, transgenders, and gender-nonconforming kin into the celebration. We are brown, we are proud, and we are familia. For the duration of the month from September 15th and through October 15th, we will be sharing our stories and celebrating our roots where power and beauty were first instilled in our hearts. We hope you join us on this journey of learning to embrace, love, share and explore our heritage as it holds many beauties in the forms of art, music, poetry, clothes, food, and life.

We are a collection of the stories waiting to be heard, and now we have the responsibility to those who will come after us to tell those stories. 

– Who we are –

We are AfroLatinx people whose roots lie in a land that has influenced many other cultures. We are the people of music, art, and family that stretches to every part of the planet. We are la gente del mundo, the sun-kissed children. 

We are indigenous people who remember the days when the sun came over the horizon. We sang the first songs and painted the first sunsets. Our people cultivated the land and shared its fruits with those who came from across the waters. We held this land and gave birth to a new people, a new life, a new beginning. We are proud to be.

We are proud to have seen and to share the tales of when the stars took their places.  

We are a beautiful collection of the power of unity but we must not let ourselves be divided by old ways of thinking, colorism, homophobia, transphobia, and machismo weaken our strength. Rhetoric like ‘mejorar la raza’ damage the self-image and must STOP. Unknowingly, we have accepted and participated in colorism with assigning nicknames to our families and friends that describe their color. ‘prieto/a’, ‘guero/a’, ‘indio/a’, moreno/a’, etc… these names and these ideas of one tone being superior or preferred to the other are what inhibit our communities from being truly united. This Latinx Heritage Month we want to begin the work to break down these damaging views so that future generations of Latinx folks are treated with dignity and respect. 

In the US, many of us found the borders move around us, while others had to sacrifice their lives from all parts of Latin America to cross harsh terrain and endure discrimination to provide a better life for their families. We are survivors. We work from the fields to your own homes, to the kitchens of your favorite restaurants. We withstand hate and xenophobic rhetoric because we want a better life and future for our families that are filled with opportunity and life filled with dignity and respect. Our culture is in our blood and home is where we plant our roots in. We’re immigrant strong and we’re here to stay.

We invite you to join us as we explore every section of our heritage. All are seen, everyone is included, all are wanted and all are needed. We are all part of the story of our familia. We are continuing the traditions of our roots. We are unified with our brothers and sisters contributing to the many colors and branches of our family tree. Our beginnings are bloody, but our future has never been brighter. Our contribution to the global society has never been bigger. We are la gente unida, we remain a pueblo true to its roots. Welcome to Latinx Heritage Month.

Follow our Instagram during Latinx Heritage Month to see our DACAmented member leaders share their day during our Wednesdays IG Story TAKEOVERS! Make sure to check out our Social Media for important information and upcoming event details.

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