Black History Month: Beyoncé leads, Suffolk flounders

Patrick Holmes

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The importance of Black History Month is made known by the fact that it is internationally celebrated. The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom recognize the relevance of showing support and notably understanding their black communities. Furthermore, prominent figures in our society have made an effort to promote this month, Beyoncé being one of the major advocates.

Since Barack Obama was elected as president, I think that was the beginning of change. Obama assumed office in January of 2009, the month right before Black History Month, and that made February that much more prominent for the black people in the U.S. since he was and is the first black president.

However, Febuary is not just the month to celebrate black culture, but to accept and understand their past, which has been historically oppressed by white people. It is important to support the black community in a month where they are remembering the pain and suffering their ancestors endured. Beyoncé’s recent hit, “Formation” outlined the struggles the black community has gone through and are still facing.

Moreover, white people should be allies and recognize the past and learn from it. Speaking as a white person, I think that it’s necessary to celebrate Black History Month just as any person of color would.

But Suffolk’s presence in the celebration of this month was limited. A few activities took place but I never found myself overtly face-to-face with an event. The advertisement stretched as far as various Facebook invites to events and maybe a flier or two around campus.

An initiative was present but the overall campus-wide knowledge was not present. If the claim that Suffolk is such a diverse campus, I would have liked to see more effort to recognize my peers of color throughout the entire university, not just a fraction of it. They deserve this month in remembrance of their strength.

Allies are important in any situation and community because if you don’t have a support system and people by your side, it’s harder to make a difference. This also counts for Black allies, LGBT allies, pro-abortion allies, and so on. So for next February, Suffolk should go all out to imporve the recognition of its black community.

Students can speak up and share their stories of what Black History Month means to them. Not just people of color, but white people as well. Join the movement and attempt to make a difference.

Beyoncé is an example of a progressive figure who wants to make a difference. She dedicated an entire song, performance, and music video to celebrate her culture and what it means to her. If a prominent person in our society can openly recognize Black History Month, why can’t prominent campus figures?

Suffolk was very preoccupied with the administrative battle this past month. Due to this turmoil, February seemed to be overlooked greatly and the celebration of a culture was put on the back burner of the equality stove.

Since this seemed to be the case, maybe we shouldn’t designate one entire month for the realization of the strength and endurance of the black community, but promote the idea of celebrating them periodically throughout the year. Maybe we should always be in touch with the prominent black leaders of the past and present. It is necessary to always be an ally and to always support.

Encouraging and supporting the black community and other causes that deserve allies is just the beginning of a road that leads to equality. A month may not be enough. Make it a daily celebration of your friends, your peers, your acquaintances, even the person you just saw on the street. They deserve it.

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