Monday, February 10, 2014

Celebrating A Diverse History and More

Looking Back, Moving Forward: Black History Month 2014

Welcome to Black History Month 2014!  Did you say what that all about? Well this year's month long theme is "Civil Rights in America,"  chronicling the important milestones by African-Americans and others in the battle for civil rights and equal treatment under the law. And now for the history lesson that COP 24/7 often like to share with our readers and visitors.

Black History Month began in 1926 as part of an initiative by writer and educator Dr. Carter G. Woodson who launched Negro History Week in 1926.
Woodson proclaimed that Negro History Week should always occur in the second week of February —between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Since 1976, every American president has proclaimed February as Black History Month. Today, other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom also devote an entire month to celebrating black history. Now that you've got that, lets now get it twisted. Black History Month is for everyone and anybody open to educating themselves to culture, contributions and conditions in which Black people have endured as well as thrived.
As history buff, I have spent many hours making the connection to those who were forced from the African continent into a dehumanizing system of slavery in which they were consider human chattel. The spectrum of achievement and accomplishments since then has soared from all corners of the nation with the ultimate pinnacle culminating in the two term election President Barack H. Obama. Unfortunately as we celebrate our tremendous strides, it is no secret that the Black community continues to suffer societal disparities including rampant internal "Black and Black" crime, education challenges, urban blight and continuing STI/ HIV/AIDS infections among Black youth 12-24.
Yet from all that I've learned about the Black American experience ranging from myself being a descendant of slaves to my standing face to face with the Emancipation document that was exhibited at the Clinton Center or my April returning trip to meet my Capitol Hill Representative concerning  HIV/ AIDS for AIDS Watch, I am proud to have not only witnessed history but did my part to add my thread to great tapestry that tells the story of from then to now. I am determined to leave a legacy of service to all that I touch, communicate and empower to be the best that they can be too!
Coming OUT History Continues
Not a minute to too soon, Hitchcock, Texas, native, Michael Sam made his watershed announcement via interviews with ESPN and the Times that were published simultaneously Sunday night.
He said he went public now in part because many seemed aware of his sexual orientation at the Senior Bowl two weeks ago.

"I didn't realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me," Sam told ESPN. "I want to own my truth. ... No one else should tell my story but me."
He celebrated in advance by having dinner Saturday with a group that included former NFL running back Dave Kopay, who was one of the first ex-players to come out as gay, and former punter Chris Kluwe and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who both have been outspoken in their support of gay rights.

Sam joins an emerging legion of Black Athletes such as basketball player Jason Collins, and most recently WWE wrestler, Darrin Young (pictured) who have taken a leap of faith to stand in their truth.

As we celebrated Black History Month, these Black gay men are vital in demonstrating to others that you can be truly be all you can be by naming it and claiming it. Big props to these guys and all who move forward living their same gender loving lives out loud! Salute my brothers!!

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