Sophomore reflects on meaning of Black History Month

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By Brooke Vallin, Staff Reporter From Rosa Parks to Serena Williams, Black History Month is a time to honor and celebrate. For sophomore and member of Conestoga’s African American Student Union, Jaela Eaton, Black History Month is a time for everyone to celebrate Black people and Black achievements.  “Although [celebrating] Black History is not just...

By Brooke Vallin, Staff Reporter

From Rosa Parks to Serena Williams, Black History Month is a time to honor and celebrate. For sophomore and member of Conestoga’s African American Student Union, Jaela Eaton, Black History Month is a time for everyone to celebrate Black people and Black achievements. 

“Although [celebrating] Black History is not just for a month, it happens every month of the year, it’s nice to highlight and have everyone on the same page for this one month,” Eaton said. 

With this past year, and the social justice movement, Eaton feels like more effort has been made in media representation for Black History Month. There are now more frequent commercials and social media posts highlighting achievements of well-known and lesser-known Black figures in America from the past and present. 

However, there is still a lot that needs to change. Eaton wishes more people knew further information about Black history than the little that is covered in our history textbooks. Many people miss out on learning about core events such as Black Wall Street or specfics regarding slavery. 

“We get the very bare minimum of what actually happened but it’s actually a lot more horrific, than it seems in the textbooks,” Eaton said. 

In history curriculums, Black history is usually only posed as Black trauma. With typically a heavy focus exclusively on slavery and racism, lots of information is missed out on. 

“Let’s learn about the African kingdoms and the royalty that we have information and access to. Let’s learn about things like writers and more artists and more creative people,” Eaton said.

Even though they each had tremendous impacts on American history, Eaton wishes we learned about more people than just Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. Instead, she hopes to switch the focus onto current Black activists or those who have made any type of overall achievement in the world. 

“Let’s highlight black achievements, rather than black trauma and struggle,” Eaton said. 

More accessible and detailed information is necessary to encourage people to continue learning about Black history and educating themselves year round. Even though it is easy to look something up online, with more accessible information, Eaton feels that people will take the time to learn about Black history simply out of personal interest. 

“It should just be more accessible to people, so it doesn’t feel like a chore having to go out and look for things. It should feel like, “Oh, like that’s cool” or “I never knew that, let me learn more about it,”’ Eaton said. 

Black history is an essential aspect to American history and needs to be recognized year round. Some of the ways you can celebrate Black History Month are by supporting Black owned businesses and educating yourself by listening to Black voices within your community, the media, film and through writing.  

“It’s not a moment, it’s a movement. So, make sure to put in the effort to learn about Black people, Black achievements, Black culture and educate yourself,” Eaton said.

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