Black History Month 2020 and America is at another crossroads.
The democratic primaries are in full swing and there are no Black candidates after Senators Kamala Harris and Corey Booker dropped out due to lack of funding, stolen data, poor campaign strategies, and lack of support from white democrats. What’s left in the “Big Tent” party is an 99% all-white candidate primary that with candidates that are less diverse than the 2016 republican candidates.
Top it off with the antiquated Iowa caucus in Iowa which is 92%, and Black voters are effectively on the sidelines as a democratic candidate is chosen in what is one of the most important elections in history and one in which Democrats cannot win without Black voters.
It is, simply put, a mess.
Black History Month 2020 find us looking back to 259 Black Americans murdered by police in 2019 and continuing to see our bodies disrespected by law enforcement that is cheered on and protected by laws written to… protect them from us.
Black History Month 2020 finds our wages lagging whites and stagnant overall. Black women’s child mortality higher than some so-called undeveloped countries and Black women dying during childbirth at almost historical highs.
Black History Month finds our home ownership has never recovered from the George Bush housing crash, and average Black net worth is close to zero. Blacks have high student loan debt, higher ratio of overall debt, and the highest unemployment vs other groups.
And yet despite sobering statistics Black Americans continue to thrive and flourish in many ways despite America’s systemic racism designed to punish Black people for being Black.
Graduation rates, overall employment, average lifespan, advanced degrees – Black women lead all demographics – and other positive changes show the possibility of equality and of fulfilling the American promise that our people fought and died for over the past three-hundred years.
Black History Month 2020 is like every month of every year since Black people were enslaved: the road is rocky, it is blocked, there are detours and setbacks, and despite it all there is only forward that holds the promise; we go forward relentlessly and with a particular and unusual determination of certainty. There is a point we are headed to and despite the challenge that is America – and Americans – we keep moving.
We must keep moving – to realize the hopes and dreams of our ancestors who knew we’d have it better than they did and that we would make it better for those who follow.
Black History Month 2020 is our time to reflect and energize as we head to the next day, month, and year. So while we celebrate who we are and how we got here – from famous and non-famous – we also celebrate our every day lives, our successes, and our struggle because we know that to be Black in America, whether in the past or now, is in itself an achievement worthy of acknowledgement and celebration every day of the year.
*Come see me as I sign my book: BLM-PD at Underground Books in Sacramento’s historic Oak Park neighborhood on February 29th 5-6:30p. Details below…