This February, Lawrence Woodmere Academy (LWA) recognized Black History Month. Why is this so important, you ask?
As an African-American student, I find it imperative that customs and contributions of black Americans, once considered uncivilized, be given proper respect. It is also a celebration of how far America has come as a nation.
Take me as an example: I am a first-generation American in a long line of proud Jamaicans. I am also the product of a multiracial family, with both my mother and father being of mixed race. My family ranges from white to black skin pigment and everything in-between. Sixty years ago, someone like me would have been considered an outcast, but today I sit in a classroom among young adults of all races and religions.
Students my age often take this privilege for granted since we have never experienced otherwise. Without proper knowledge of the struggle it took to gain these rights, students are more likely to take their education for granted. America has no future in returning to the segregation it once knew. We must now look forward and continue to fight for equality.
I was fortunate enough to meet Clairtida Cenatus, a parent of a fellow classmate, who helped organize this year’s Black History Month celebration at LWA. The celebration culminated on Tuesday in an assembly and that included food, music and icons of traditional Black-American culture.
I participated in this year’s Black History Month celebration along with fellow seniors, Brittney McFarlane, Ricardine Laventure, Taniya Walker and Tyrra Walker. We performed a medley of Motown songs made popular by famous African-American artists. Although our performance did not speak to the struggle of the Civil Rights movement, we must remember that this was a celebration!
“It’s obvious that most people are educated on the facts, but I think it’s important to show respect and be proud of both black culture and these unbelievable heroes,” Cenatus said.
I hope that each of us will find a way to appreciate the significance of Black History Month and continue to strive for a united America.