When we think about Black History month, our thoughts go to the enormous amount of invaluable contributions African-Americans have given to the United States and to the world. This celebratory month has allowed us to reflect on the past while contemplating our present, and thus giving us hope for the future. Perhaps we can look forward to a future where we don’t need to dedicate months to learn about history or recognize an accomplished group of people — instead we just learn and internalize this information every day.
February is called Black History month and, as Latinos, we need to understand our part in this celebration outside of the learning component. Black History is not simply about African-Americans, but African descendants. Latinos have a long history of African heritage within their linage that is not brought to light enough. We are willing to recognize the greatness of Roberto Clemente but are we prepared to celebrate his African roots?
It is no secret that Latinos are increasing in population within the United States, and with this comes a large strength politically and economically. While we tend to think that progress means looking forward, it is months like February where we need to look back and see ourselves in the same historical landscape as our African American brethren. If anything else, we can look back a few figures who have shaped our histories and deserve proper praise during Black History Month.