Each year, Black History Month is a designated time in several countries around the world to recognize the historical struggles and accomplishments within the African-American culture. The month is celebrated in the United States and Canada in February. The United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands recognize the month in October.
We recently caught up with a few members of the Saint Leo University community to get their unique perspectives on what Black History Month means to them in their lives.
"Black History Month means an exclusive time out of the year for me to reflect on our history as black people, our accomplishments both past and present and to reflect on my personal and professional achievements.
During Black History Month, we are always reminded of the anger and hatred that led to many of our ancestors being sold into slavery. We are mind-blown at the movies and documentaries that tell the truths of our heritage as black people. Our lives are enriched with those men and women who fought for our rights, who took beatings, water-hose sprayings and even died for us. It is now 2019 and we are still dealing with racism, injustice and criminal acts toward us as a race. As black people, we learned the hard way of how to let our silence shout. We learned how to put our trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We learned to pour out our fears and disappointments to God through praise and worship. Black History Month reminds me of my ancestors looking toward the heavens, laying their burdens down and still pushing on."
- Rona Howard, a Saint Leo University Atlanta Education Center student and retired Air Force veteran
"Black History Month is an opportunity for people to learn, acknowledge and celebrate the contributions African-Americans have made to their communities, society and the world. There are so many essential inventions, movements and cultural influences created by people of color that many aren't aware of but should be. Black History Month is a great time to explore and highlight these pioneers and provide the history of some of the greatest, most influential African-American innovators."
- Marketta Davis, social media specialist at Saint Leo University
"Black history is American history. It's world history. It's everyone's history. It's an opportunity to honor those who sacrificed so much of themselves to ensure equal rights for everyone. Black history is an opportunity to recognize pioneers who have contributed to the advancement of not only black culture, but also to American culture as a whole. Black history means giving the voiceless among us a platform to share their stories. To me, black history means this and much more."
- Shadel Hamilton, senior associate vice president of student services at Saint Leo University
"The history of black people, in many parts of the world, includes stories of oppression. To me, this month is a celebration of all the achievements made in spite of. It is meant to be celebrated by people of all different races and is a time for everyone, from all walks of life, to reflect on the history of the struggles of black people, their triumph, their continuous fight, and the culture. Sharing in the history of each other's story will allow us all to grow and appreciate each other for our differences. Therefore, Black History Month for me means unity of all, which is the will of our Lord."
- Celine-Deon Palmer, president of Saint Leo University's Student Government Union (SGU) and a member of the class of 2020