Today we begin Black History Month, the time when white people spend a month attempting to show how much they have learned since slavery. Or how much more enlightened we are.
As we begin Black History month now with our first Black president in the history books, I wonder what we need to focus on. What do we need to remember, now and this whole year?
And it’s the shortest, coldest month of the year. Black History month should be July, so that we are constantly reminded that our liberation is caught up and dependent on the liberation of everyone who lives in our nation.
Leslie Jones did a bit on SNL Weekend Update a couple weeks ago that geared us up for beginning our journey through this month. There is so much we do not know. We still have so much to learn. We’ve got to look with better eyes than the ones we’re using now.
As a white woman, I need to listen more than speak. And I need to expand the group that I listen to. I’m working on it. I’m working on breaking the chains I have been living between, where I stand in the middle of an echo chamber, where everyone is angry about all the same things I am angry about.
I’m trying to understand what other people are angry about and why.
I find it too easy to go get angry about something that sounds good, and then not do a thing about it. And then I am also finding it too easy to get so angry about so many things that I am stunned into nothingness. It’s a common theme since the beginning of the year.
What chains need breaking today? What can I do to break a link in this moment?
I want them all smashed, but for now, I’ll work on this link right in front of me, and move on to the next and the next when I can.
Realizing that I am caught up in the anger of the moment, I am determined to share love instead. Who needs a note? I’m saying: “Keep up the good, hard work. We are glad you are here.”
As we work towards justice, we would do well to be reminded of the work that those who were enslaved enacted on their journey towards liberation. Maybe the timing is perfect. When the night is darkest, the smallest glimmer of light can be seen for miles.