Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Sunday, April 21, 2024
Opinions generic
Opinions generic

February. 29 days. 

The month is known for Valentine's Day, Presidents Day, Groundhog Day and this year Mardi Gras, but most notably, it is Black History Month.

As a kid, I didn't look forward to Black History Month. For the month, I was the center of attention in everything I did. If the class included anything related to Black history, I would get looks from my classmates as one of the few Black students.

It felt like I was walking around with a sign that said, "I'm Black." Everything felt intensified.

Through this experience, I understood the purpose of this month as a way to honor African Americans who altered history. This included Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and Michael Jordan.

These people were emphasized in the classroom because they played basketball and led impactful movements like desegregation or equal rights, but people like Shirley Chisholm weren't recognized.

Chisholm was the first Black woman to be elected to the United States Congress. She later became the first woman to run for president in the Democratic Party. Someone like that wasn't introduced to me until I asked or ran into the information. 

When I realized many people went unrecognized, I chose to do my research and discovered a plethora of inspirational Black people. With a simple search, I could find more people who had done things for the first time.

For example, John Chavis, the first African American to attend college, or E.E. Ward, the oldest Black-owned business owner.

Learning about individuals from an African American background at a younger age would have significantly impacted my understanding that I didn't have limitations on what I could be or do. Recognizing the achievements of people who look like me would have provided crucial inspiration. As I grew older, I realized the importance of extending this recognition beyond just a month in a year. 

Instead of being confined to a short and specific timeframe, Black History Month should be an ongoing celebration of accomplishments in activism, entrepreneurship, art, science and various other fields. By embracing diversity and highlighting achievements regularly, we can contribute to a more inclusive and enlightened society where everyone is inspired to pursue their goal, regardless of their background. 

To me and many other people who identify as Black, it's one of the most anticipated months of the year. It's a time when we can look at the past and see how far we have come. 

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

This month is an opportunity to engage and contribute to the ongoing progress and influence put into the Black culture and this country. It puts us in the same headspace of reflection and impact as a community. 

Remembering these Black leaders is motivation to continue a legacy. Motivation to chase my dreams. Motivation to pave the way for the younger generation. Motivation to set goals and continue to fight for things that will better our community and world.

As a Black student in a predominantly white institute, the Black History Month cabinet under the Black Student Union has done an amazing job curating an entire month of unity and community. From activities like silent disco or mac and cheese cook-off to journaling workshops and future empowerment discussion nights, to name a few of the daily events happening this month. 

With such a small number of students in a big school like UF, having student groups like BSU and the Caribbean Student Association and buildings like the Institute of Black Culture to bring us together is so important. Especially this month, having these spaces reiterates that a group of us is taking that step, getting an education, and that we are not alone in this journey of success. 

So, to me, Black History Month means positivity within the community. We are around each other, making new memories, working towards big and small accomplishments, and rooting for each other just a little more this month.

It is a month to celebrate, bring joy to one another, and continue to do the unthinkable. 

While it's called Black History Month, we should be celebrated every day, no matter the circumstances. 

Chrystie Blot is a UF journalism sophomore.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.