The Importance of Black History Month at MACES


Ms. Healy

BLACK HISTORY MONTH APPRECIATION – Pictured above is Ms. Shannon, assistant plant manager at MACES. Black History Month reminds her of the ancestors who came before her, but most of all, it reminds her of her courageous and humble parents. “Those are the influences in my life because they taught me to love, respect, know from right and wrong, and how to accomplish or get through different situations, the struggling situations…They always taught me to bounce back” Ms. Shannon said.

David López Jr., Reporter

In America, February is celebrated for Black History Month, a month where inspiring, courageous, and determined Black Americans are recognized for their greatness and success in fighting for equality for all Black people in America.

The meaning of this month is very broad, in that we celebrate the ones who have paved the way for the next generation of black people in multiple genres, such as sports, music, civil rights, etc. “It reminds me of our ancestors. They have strived so much, and have struggled so much for us, to get so many opportunities for us in this generation, with schooling, careers, to be an inventor, a creator, to have an education, and just to be ourselves. That’s how I really feel about the Black History Month,” Shannon Richard, assistant plant manager at MACES, said.

This month means so much to many Black Americans because it’s a reminder of where they came from, and what it took for them to be in the place they’re in now. Although the journey and road to equality isn’t fully accomplished yet, the Black community still continues to push with the hope and faith, and protests, to make their voices heard, and finally be an equal part of America.

As meaningful as Black History Month may be, it’s also a disgrace that in order for a race to actually be recognized for its works, its problems, a month has to be created to represent that topic. “We should be embarrassed that we even have to HAVE a month, because we should all be recognized every day. There shouldn’t have to be a month put aside that we stand up as human beings and realize how poorly we treated another group of people that are living among us. So I think it’s an embarrassment to all of us…It’s ridiculous that we have to have a month for everything. I guess it’s awareness that we’re calling to attention, but those are things we should all be worried about all the time. How do I feel about it? I think it’s an embarrassment on non-black people,” Stephani Healy, a counselor at MACES, said.

Many famous black people, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Jackie Robinson, are some of the biggest influences in black lives. At the end of the day though, the ones who go unrecognized, or don’t become as famously known, are the parents. “My dad is a huge influence in my life. Him being a black man coming from poverty and him building a life in the states really is an amazing accomplishment,” Javier Hernandez, a senior, said.

Parents teach the values of life, how to treat someone with respect, and to be humble. A lot of people when they get older start to understand where their parent’s points of view come from, why they say this or that, their struggle to become who they are today, and understanding that delivers a lot more respect towards moms and dads. “My mom and my dad. Those are the [biggest] influences in my life because they taught me to love, respect, know from right and wrong, and how to accomplish or to get through different situations, the struggling situations. And so I really appreciate that. They always told me to bounce back,” Richard said.

Learning about the past, and the history behind the Black race, and their road to Black Excellence, is truly eye opening. Back then, in the beginning stages of America, Black people were made into slaves, and had no opportunities to become a leader,  famous, or even rich. Instead, they had to follow their white master, and for a long time this was their everyday lives, until they finally had enough, and escaped, or revolted against their masters. Abolitionists were created to abolish slavery. It took a Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln, to end slavery, which allowed Black people to vote. Black colleges were created in the late 1890s to allow black people to get an education, and progress in their lives. Today, it’s now known that it’s possible for a black person to climb higher than ever, and become President, Vice President, First Lady, and even more. 

The treatment towards Black people back then compared to now miles better but with room to improve, as there is still racism, and police brutality. However, today there’s more opportunities to preach what needs to be preached, with protests, social media, and more. Back then, if a group of Black people planned to rebel, their actions would be at high risk, and their chances of making and pushing for a change were slim. “They’re the ones who have really been through the struggles, and been through different ways of living back when they were kids; it was totally different. So they had a whole different mindset compared to us. Us now in this generation, it’s more easier, and there’s more opportunities for us now. So I really appreciate that, too,” Richard said.

A list of changes still need to be completed to continue the progression for equality. “Some changes are that we need better treatment from police officers, we need better education in “poorer” areas, and we need to be taught proper stuff to help us get out of poverty, and we need to find ways to help reverse the ways slavery and social injustices put us in the situation we are in,” Hernandez says.

Being a part of activist groups and protests can be two huge ways in pushing for change. The Black Lives Matter movement, currently being one going on has really voiced out the issues of the treatment of Black people in America, and they have been recognizing the Black people who have died at the hands of police officers, and have pointed out other moments when a black person was wrongfully convicted of a crime or died to poor judgement.

When it comes down to the politicians, the one who hold lots of power over America, answers tend to range from “I’m not sure, but I hope…” and this is due to the cries from the Black community not being taken seriously, and their changes not being dealt with. In spite of that, they still have hope that one day a change will come. Transitioning from a nasty president to someone who was under Barack Obama’s wing as Vice President, there is some hope in that. ” …it’s upon them, the politicians to really make a change for the whole world: different races, different cultures; it’s upon them to show US that we have opportunities, and that we can have a dream for our lives. But we have to do that upon ourselves, but on their agenda? There’s not much that we can say about that…I really hope we do see changes because these days it’s just been too much. It’s just been too much for me. It’s scary. It’s a sad moment at this time right now, and we all have to pray. To make that change, to really make that change for us black and brown, there really has to be a change, and he really has to put work into that to show us that we are worth it. For real. That’s the way I feel,” Richard says. 

Music and art play a big part in the Black community. So many Black artists inspire the world with their words and pictures, like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Tupac Shakur to name a few. “Music is really precious because music can make you happy, music can make you laugh, music can make you sad, and music can make you cry. There’s so many definitions in music, and art, because they put so much of themselves in how they feel in these two types of projects in music and art. So I really feel that is life. It really is; it’s life. It shows your expressions on how you feel, ” Richard says.

Black artists are very inspiring, and their words have such raw meaning because they’ve been through the struggles, and hardships in their lives. “Music is a huge part. Many black artists are voices for us and they express through their lyrics and it’s almost like they can replicate our lives and they are speaking on topics we can relate to,” Hernandez said. 

Today, there are many opinions and views on what Black History Month means, and the importance of the month. The Black race should be appreciated everyday nevertheless. Learning the history of where the Black race began, what led them to Black Excellence, and what should be done now to further that progression to be and feel equal, and feel like a true and proud American in America should be a staple in this country, and no one should feel that they’re different because of the color of their skin.