What does Black History Month mean to you?

Elijah Gonzalex-Chandler|First year

Black History Month is a celebration of the progress that the African American community has made throughout history. To ignore it would mean also ignoring this significant portion of history. It helps to show the general public that anything is possible, no matter what obstacles they might face, as long as they have the motivation and support. In February, we celebrate civil rights achievements and black success in the entertainment industry. All of these different communities have helped create change and diversity in our society. By having a whole month dedicated to these accomplishments, we are not only honoring history but also paying tribute to the hard-working men and women that participated in the evolution of American society, and the African American community with it.

Aaron Taylor| Junior

In my opinion, Black History Month is every month and the history therein isn’t something that can be expressed within the shortest month of the year. Although I have family that have heavily supported the ideology of black history month, I always felt that school did a poor job of educating students about it in a meaningful way. Every year, in the month of February, we would only talk about black history’s basics. I considered this knowledge to be “watered down” and generic. The content was always repetitive and tended to lack depth. Many people who have contributed to black history are left out in traditional school discourses. To give an example: let’s say that my parents didn’t teach me about the history of black culture, and ultimately decided to leave it up to the schools or government; I would probably only know of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, given that the history of this culture isn’t well-taught or given a strong amount of interest in most school districts.

Alyssa Ravelo | Senior

Black History Month receives about the same recognition from our university as Veterans Day. While there is  reason for not recognizing Veterans Day– the school’s Mennonite, pacifist roots—there is no reason why we don’t have practices that celebrate the significance of Black History Month. One could conclude that it simply isn’t a priority for FPU. Black students made up less than four percent of our student population last spring, and with such low recognition and a tiny population it’s no wonder that these students commonly report feelings of frustration and isolation. I believe that celebratory traditions, as well as an increase in black student recruitment, would benefit the overall experience of black students at FPU. Ultimately, the university has a responsibility to address this issue, but in order to elicit changes it will require major efforts from students, staff, faculty and administrators.

De’Jshon Maxwell-Garcia|Sophomore

As much as I would love to say that Black History Month is everything, I would only be lying, because it is not. I love having something to celebrate that involves my history. This is the only time that we have a whole month out of the year to do so, even if it just so happens to be the shortest. However, it is not celebrated enough. It seems as if it is only a Snapchat filter to some people. This should be a month of reflecting on how far black people have come, but where is such celebration? Our celebrations at FPU are only superficial. If we really cared, we would be organizing a town hall meeting every week in February, going in-depth on certain specific figures. We should be reflecting on those who have dedicated their lives to us having a better future. It can be as simple as dedicating each week of the month to certain leaders and their accomplishments. All it takes to make a difference is action.

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