Our annual celebration of Black History Month calls on us to not only remember, but revisit. In remembering the past, the heroic and courageous actions by those who came before us, we must also revisit the mindset that led people to make decisions to sacrifice for future generations – sacrifices to bring us all closer to a more perfect union. In revisiting the people of years past, we can find the strategies necessary to continue fighting battles today. One of the most valuable things about Black History Month is that it chronicles the fight for justice.
The fight for justice includes us all, because racial justice includes fights for economic justice and labor justice, as well as fights against gender discrimination, and queer and trans antagonism and discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity. We celebrate labor activists such as Ben Fletcher and A. Philip Randolph who embodied economic and labor justice. We celebrate Nannie Helen Burroughs and Dora Lee Jones for advocating for women laborers while fighting against racial injustice. We celebrate Bayard Rustin for his commitment to workers’ rights while also fighting against queer antagonism.
We have come a mighty long way; we know that very well in Maryland. We recently inaugurated Wes Moore, the first Black Governor in Maryland’s history. Additionally, we inaugurated Anthony Brown, the first Black Attorney General in the state’s history. Not to be forgotten are the three consecutive Black Lieutenant Governors (Michael Steele, Anthony Brown, and Boyd Rutherford). Those men represent two decades of African-American leadership in the state’s second highest office. Our state currently has an African-American woman as the Speaker of the House of Delegates, Adrienne Jones, who herself shattered glass ceilings of race and gender.
Happy Black History Month.