When I think about Black History Month, I think about the valuable time it allows us to remember and honor the sacrifices of so many that came before us. But upon further reflection, I realize the value of Black History Month is more of a lesson in how to love.
When I was five years old, my father left his home country of the Bahamas to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Nashville, Tenn. He was in his forties at the time and took my two older brothers with him as my mom, older sister, and I were left behind. Being separated like this made for an incredibly trying year, and soon after he moved all of us to Nashville. My mom joined him in pursuing her bachelor’s degree at a historically black college, American Baptist Theological Seminary.
When I moved to Nashville, I heard the word ‘minority’ for the first time. As a child, I never really understood what this term meant and asked myself questions like, “Does this mean I am less than someone else?” Of course, the answer was no, but through this experience and many others, I started to understand I would be treated differently in certain situations due to the color of my skin. Growing up there were many times sadness crept in, and at other times, anger reared its ugly head. Despite these feelings, my parents’ main lesson to my siblings and me was that love overcomes.
Black History Month is more than a celebration of what black people in America have accomplished. More than anything, it is a celebration of overcoming adversity despite so many obstacles. It’s a celebration of treating your neighbor the way you want to be treated, turning the other cheek even when others may not deserve it, and continuing to push forward and work together to accomplish dreams and goals.
This is why we celebrate. This is why we remember the past. It is not always just about remembering what happened to people who look like us. It’s about remembering how, through love, we can prevail. It goes beyond celebrating current accomplishments — it’s about continuing to show love despite still facing obstacles. And it’s not just about inspiring for the future. It’s about showing that in order to have a future, we must all continue to show love to one another.
As we all honor and celebrate at various events throughout the month, let’s continue to work together and focus on serving one another to spread love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” To me, this scripture sums up Black History Month perfectly and what it is truly about. As a father and black man in America raising two bi-racial sons, I want to teach them that no matter what people may do and say, and no matter how hard it might be, you must lead with love anyway. That’s the power of Black History.