Heritage months matter to all of us

Staff Editorial

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February is Black History Month, known widely throughout the United States as the time to recognize and celebrate the historic achievements of black American icons from lawyers and activists to scientists and astronauts.

At the same time, it is also the topic of racial backlash, where many question why the US recognizes this specific heritage and not others. But, this question simply holds no weight. There are many different heritage history months, and they all deserve to be recognized with respect. Clearly, there are more heritages to celebrate and acknowledge throughout the year other than Black History. But, as it currently is February, overlooking the purpose of Black History Month isn’t only disrespectful to the long, treacherous racial battles that black Americans had to and still have to overcome today, but also limits the education and knowledge that one could acquire.

So, no, just because we may or may not necessarily celebrate every minority culture as much as every other, it does not give permission to ignore the celebration of this one.

According to Time, Black History Month did not become a nationally observed celebration until 1976, on the 50th anniversary of “Negro History Week”, which was created by Carter G. Woodsen and his organization called Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Woodsen, an educator and historian, founded the ASALH in 1915.

This month, out of respect for those black americans who have worked tirelessly and endlessly for simply receiving recognition for the work they’ve done, take time to listen. Acknowledge the struggle that many have gone through and the trauma that follows. Understand that it takes time to heal wounds that have constantly been re-inflicted over decades and generations. Even if you can’t relate, it’s important to listen. 

History is not made to be ignored or disparaged. While we would like to see more attention given to ethnic cultures across school curricula (though we acknowledge that there is clear effort), we should take advantage of an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate a culture regardless of whether or not every other culture is not as apparently represented.