by: Minda Harts, Founder, The Memo
As we kick off Black History Month, we want to pay homage to the trailblazers. Those that endured being enslaved to those dismantling Jim and Jane Crows so that we might fulfill our destiny.
It’s amazing when you think about the courage it took for people like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, once enslaved, to defy this country’s status quo. To push past their fears and reach the “promised land” so that many of us could experience life as we know it today. They left a legacy that allows us to continue to strive for the boardroom, to gain education inside of the classroom, to thank God inside of the church, and to eat at any lunch counter we choose. We are able to take up space because of their contributions.
As we celebrate the achievements of black trailblazers this month, I am reminded that every day is black history month.
As a black woman, there isn’t a day that goes by that I leave my identity on the shelf. I show up in every room, every single day as a black woman--and one month isn’t enough for me. It’s a privilege to reflect on the achievements of our ancestors from the past, the magic of the present, and the future endeavors of those yet to be born. Amanda Seales wouldn’t be able to tell jokes on the main stage without the path that Moms Mabley blazed. Kamala Harris wouldn’t be taken seriously as an African-American presidential candidate without Shirley Chisholm and Carol Moseley-Braun leading the charge. I wouldn’t be able to speak my truths around advancing women of color, without the work of Ella Baker and Maggie Walker. And Serena Williams wouldn’t be so confident if Althea Gibson hadn’t led with black excellence in a segregated sport.
This February, let us not just remember Beyonce’s version of Lift Every Voice and Sing at Coachella, but remember and reflect on the words that mean so much to our culture and the triumphs we have overcome. And as one line in the song goes, “Facing the rising sun, of our new day begun, let us march until victory is won.”
May we never stop honoring those who came before us, and may we be a reminder to the next generations of our rich and genius DNA.
Let us continue to blaze new trails and lift our voice to create seats for our future ancestors of women of color.