I’ve written quite a few posts before about this month, what it means to people, and the education we both have and haven’t received about Black history. Today, I’m writing about some new thoughts: the way we celebrate BHM changes depending on the context we’re living/celebrating in and especially as we’ve seen this last year, the perspective you place on that celebration.
In the same way that the US has seen major changes in the way we think or are impacted by the political, health, and social spheres of our lives, I think we also need to pay more attention to the groups that should be centered in the conversations about these issues. If we aren't active in who we center in these conversations, we contribute to the erasure of more people and more cultures simply because we aren’t willing to listen to anyone beyond ourselves.
Whatever works for you might not work for everyone else and what you and someone else needs may not be the same, but when these areas do intersect, that’s when things get interesting. Lately, people have been protesting through ways that you wouldn’t expect them to be, from violin vigils to massive group yoga sessions in the middle of intersections. Though each are across the board in how we interact with them, they are all forms of expression, self-care, and protest at the same time. Poetry is no different.
Our actions within each movement speak louder than any of us ever could when it comes to what we really believe life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness means. Over time, what we do will determine where this reality takes us; optimistically, I am hoping for the best. But I also know that it is up to every one of us to do the work, educate ourselves, protect both ourselves and the people we love, and to pay attention to what’s happening in the world before it’s too late.
In a timely fashion, I think it’s a good time to bring it back because I’m reading it with different eyes. It's about coming to terms with systematic racism just as much as it’s about coming of age with one’s own identity.
Technically slavery in certain places was ended with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. In 1865, however, there were slaves in Galveston, Texas that were not freed until June 19th. These two key concepts are the reason that this day must be acknowledged—today is a celebration of liberation.
What are you going to do to make sure that your everyday life has actually found a new normal, one that is conscious of issues that impact lives outside of your own? Because is the only way to make this a lasting change and it starts at the individual level with every single one of us. It starts with you.
I’m back with some poetry for you today, courtesy of The Academy of American Poets. Now, I’m sure a lot of you have seen countless protest photos of everything going on around the world lately; I must say, some of those signs are worded a bit like poetry. After all, poetry itself is a form…Read more Poetry Place–Black Life
It feels like the world is on fire and in the US, some of it actually is. This time, these flames do not feel like they are going out quickly. George Floyd did not die a while ago. And the Minnesota protests did not begin a while ago. And Donald Trump’s tweet did not happen a while ago. These things are happening now, and I think they’re important to talk about; they will very likely affect all of our lives from here on out, regardless of the color of your skin.