Black History: Who is Responsible?

by Jason Key

We as a people should spend more time focusing on our heritage. It is African American history month, but we should always be learning and analyzing ourselves. In the Riverwest community there are many different ethnicities. As a child growing up in the Riverwest area, I thought that African Americans were the only people that I lived around. My parents didn’t allow me to leave from “in front of the house!” As times changed and I was granted more freedom, I noticed that African Americans only made up a part of our community. As I got older, I wondered why there were so many different nationalities so close to each other, yet none of them really understood one another. I didn’t understand until I was a college student working in one of the businesses in the Riverwest area, that we as individual groups have pride about who we are. But as a collective whole, no one cares about the other. Don’t get me wrong, there are those who help to bridge our groups to make some of us to feel whole, but that’s not enough. In order for a community, city, a state, or even our country to sustain its level of dominance, all people have to work on similar accords to ensure that we all are proud of the finished product. Harlem Renaissance ArtAs an African American it is necessary for me to stand up and speak out for what I think should happen for me and my people. And I am using a time that is designated for my people to remember what has happened in our past, to ask everyone to spend time reflecting on your own heritage. We should not only reflect during a designated month, but whenever time allows us to do so. It was always peculiar to me that Black History month (as it was called when I was a child) made teachers put up pictures of famous African Americans and change our social studies lesson to the things that seemed to be more interesting to me. There are many questions left unanswered. What if we lived in a world where schools took real time and effort to show and teach each group about its heritage? What happens when we all know each other and each other’s story? How would that affect our relationships now? Jason Key is a resident of the Harambee neighborhood. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 2 – February 2003