This archived article was written by: Scott Froehlich
As Black History Month winds down in the next couple weeks, it is critical that our commemoration of those involved throughout African-American history does not as well. We should keep in mind the brave and heroic men and women of the Civil Rights Movement and channel that passion and diligence when presented with circumstances that need to be overcome. For all the blood, sweat and tears shed throughout the struggle for equality, we owe it to them to keep the spirit of the movement alive.
In the 53 years since the signing of the Voting Rights Act, there are still instances of aggression and systemic racism aimed at the black community. Tragedies such as the Rodney King beating in the ‘90s, and the ongoing police shootings of African-Americans, leave many in their communities feeling threatened, especially from law enforcement. Local
governments are also targeting the black community by gerrymandering voting districts, effectively stating their ability to vote or even register to
vote in their districts.
In response to these atrocities, the Black Lives Matter movement
is spreading nationwide awareness to the growing number of social and legal injustices countless families and victims suffer through. During this revolution, activists stage protests and march across
the country, all of which is reminiscent of the actions
that Civil Rights groups took.
An extension of the night for modern African-American inclusion is being infused into the realm of sports and entertainment. The music and movie industries fight for more recognition
of black artists and NFL players kneel during the national anthem. Each group is drawing much of the nation’s ire, but
their methods of dissent draw notice from nations both home and abroad.
Former San Fran- cisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaeper- nick, who has been credited with starting the ritual of kneeling, cites the need to raise awareness of the oppression of black people and other people of color as his motivation. Despite Kaepernick’s
actions spurring a backlash from fans and political figures, athletes continue to kneel with the hope that action will be taken to solve our broken justice system.
Throughout the recent struggles, several victories for the black community
continue to shape and reform the way our society looks at race relations. The grow- ing number of African-Americans being elected to political offices reached a new height a decade ago, with the election of Pres. Barack Obama. As the nation ’s first African-American commander in chief, Obama faced a myriad of opposition, but persevered to begin bringing change to a country that was in shambles at the time.
Black History Month is an important time to celebrate the achievements of African-Americans and their allies who fought to ensure freedom for all citizens. It is also a crucial moment to re-elect upon and learn from America’s most disgraceful treatment of a people who were treated as second-class citizens from the day they were forcibly brought to the U.S. Although we as a nation have come a long way with respect to how we include our minorities in the American dream, much still needs to be done to break down the “us versus them” racial barriers that exist to this day.