It has been about a week since the month of February has begun. The first day of the month was not treated like any ordinary day by many. While the morning air on LU’s campus was visibly freezing, the souls of our colleagues were filled with warmth. From brightly colored dashikis, to afro hair in bloom like on a fresh day of spring, the campus community oozed with pride and vibrant energy: Black History Month!
However, that excitement has seemed to wane a bit. The semester is rolling by and workloads seem to weigh a lot more than they did merely two weeks ago. All the same, we need to retain the same energy we had on the first day of February.
While 28 days are not enough to recognize our achievements, each celebrated element of black history should serve to inspire our purpose. Any student on this campus knows of prominent alumni like Kwame Nkrumah and Langston Hughes-unless they slept through all of freshman year-but how has that knowledge really served us?
According to one of our faculty members, there is a certain degree of “lactivity” (lack of activity) within our community. It is not uncommon to hear a student say, “Lincoln ain’t doin’ nun for me,” which then provokes the question: what are YOU doing for Lincoln?
It seems as though some of our black children have forgotten what our predecessors overcame. The chance to go to college is a privilege. Many of us are in fact first-generation college students. There is no reason why any student should be begged to get their work done. Your financial aid is a LOAN and that money needs to be repaid whether you pass the course or not. Your refund check is not free money, so do not spend it like it is.
We have inherited an institution with such a rich history. An institution which was attended by such “illustrious” (this seems to be the designated adjective) alumni. Yet, generations later, what have we learnt from them? How are we using our own history to inspire us? These are the questions we must ask ourselves.
So before you whip out your kaftan and your coconut oil while screaming about social injustice (because “you woke”), think about your rich, and even painful, history. Think about the rights and wrongs you have done. Think about how far you have come, and how much further you can go. This Black History Month, think not only of those who have already made their history, but of how you can make your own history; YOUR story.