This past weekend I had the honor and the pleasure of being a part of a Black Heritage event at my university. In lieu of bringing one artist of large notoriety, the school chose to make the event a celebration of several South Side Chicago artists and consequently the artistry in the community. It was a wonderful event giving proof that universities can not only share geographical space but a more personal communication. The event gave me a feeling reminiscent of the satisfaction I had in being apart of the MLK Celebration with keynote speaker Geoffrey Canada, which was another commingling of South Siders university and non university members alike. My only concern is the motivation of those involved in the events; where is the pride outside of momentous occasions or designated periods of homage?
In my experience the direct praise of Black heritage that is seen during MLK or February is like church on Easter or everyone making nice for a funeral of a relative. It is more of an obligatory or offhanded gesture than a genuine appreciation, from Black and Non-Blacks alike, for what and where we come from. Like the aforementioned analogy of Easter and a funeral, it takes a pinnacle moment to direct our attention to the sacrifice and triumph experienced by our people every day.
While it is awe inspiring to have the legacy of MLK and the presidency of Obama, it is no less a testament when groups like Cease Fire interrupt gang violence or 100% of high school attendants of an all Black male school go to college. All of these things are achieved through persistence and belief, which are characteristics any race can appreciate at any time. It is pivotal that we advocate, promote, and publicly praise the all encompassing qualities of our people often as to weave our heritage into the everyday culture of this nation. One month or one birthday is not enough to convey the inextricable value this people brings to the people.