Black History is more than just a month and Black lives have always mattered

Emily Melgar

Every February, the United States officially celebrates and remembers important people and significant events in African American history, but this recognition falls short the rest of the year. The accomplishments of Black Americans are neglected when it truly matters.

Their lives and contributions to society should matter every day of the year.

African Americans have struggled for freedom and equality since they were first stolen from their native lands and brought to America to be enslaved. While fighting this battle, they have still made immense strides towards the nation’s developments.

African Americans have found success in science, literature, sports, entertainment and more, so why do they continue to be marginalized?

For starters, the nation continues to be plagued by racism and bigotry. In recent years, acts of racism have increased, with a government administration that not only turned a blind eye to injustice, but sometimes condoned it.

The Human Rights Campaign claims Federal data showed that hate crimes rose to the highest levels in more than a decade in 2019, and nearly half of those race-based crimes targeted Black people.

Black people all over the country have lived with racism all their lives, and now, they are forced to live in a society where they don’t feel safe anywhere- with police being responsible for many Black deaths.

In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement spread across the globe as protestors demanded justice for the violence against Black people by law enforcement.

Social awareness skyrocketed with the peak of protests happening in June of 2020.

Eight months later, a new President sits in office, another month of Black History is “celebrated” and the injustice towards Black people and systemic racism still haunts the nation.

While the road to recovery from the pain this hate has caused is a long one, the fight must continue.

Every February, the nation needs to take advantage of every single day it gets to honor Black lives.

The Super Bowl happens every year in February, and millions tune in to watch. Some love football, others are lucky enough to have their teams play in the game. While a lot of people tune in for the commercials or for the half-time show.

Still, every year, people forget that African Americans play an essential role in American Football. The 2020 NFL season opened with 10 of the league’s 32 quarterbacks having known black ancestry.

This year’s half-time show was performed by The Weeknd, otherwise known as Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, a child of Ethiopian immigrants.

The contributions by Black people to make an event like the Super Bowl happen every year are overlooked, just as their many other accomplishments do.

The nation needs to wake up and finally acknowledge Black people for the incredible, resilient and talented people that they are.

Just as important, the people of the United States need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. In order to stop prejudice, they must recognize privilege when it is there.

This country was built by the hands of suffering African slaves. Over 400 years after the first African arrived on this land as slaves, it is imperative we continue to fight for the rights they have struggled for and fight to keep.

Our favorite movie stars, brilliant authors, unparalleled athletes and passionate activists—they all deserve our support and recognition.

Yesterday, today, tomorrow and always.