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Black History Month: Remember Our Past to Make a Better Future

February 4, 2021
By Chavonne Jones

As a media strategist, I recognized long ago the power of storytelling and that it’s so critical to tell the stories of individuals from diverse backgrounds to educate, inspire and motivate – revealing the intricate fabric that makes up the U.S. and the world as a whole.

Storytelling doesn’t only ensure we’re aware of the present and issues of the day, but that we remember our past to make a better future. It’s our duty as human beings living on this earth.

After this history-breaking year plus, we need to make certain that happens.

As I think back, the most impactful stories didn’t all necessarily come from history class, but the precious moments I shared with my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Hearing the well-known story of the little Black boy from Money, Miss. who never came home that haunted my father as a boy growing up in a small town in the same state; about my great-grandmother’s pride in her Black heritage who often “passed” (as Caucasian) and giving up her front seat on a bus when a Black soldier was told to sit in the back. She sat right next to him. Hearing tales of the strong grit and resolve of my grandmothers who worked themselves to the bone at multiple jobs just to put food on the table and keep a home. My father’s stories about Black communities in the segregated South who took great pride in their teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc. Teachers who taught him Black history that was absent from traditional history books. Neighbors who would give him the shirt off their backs if he needed it. Heroic stories of generations of men in my family (my grandfather, father and uncles) serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, fighting for the very freedoms we enjoy today.

I would also hear the stories of Native Americans, whose bloodline runs deep in my family as well; accounts of the brave immigrants who passed through Ellis Island, various cultures and pivotal moments throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and more.

All of our histories merge to weave the beautiful (even if very bleak at times) tapestry of the U.S. and greater society.

This Black History Month, let’s take time to reflect on and celebrate all of the wonderful contributions, accomplishments, and histories of African-Americans in this country and beyond. And to remember that no matter your background, we are all intricately connected and have a responsibility to remember and pass down stories from one generation to the next, so that we can push toward a better future. I plan to do my part.