Never Forget: Why Black History Month Remains Important

by Lawrence Ware

Celebrate-Black-History-Mon.jpgLyndon B. Johnson enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in July of that year. This legislation prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It has been 50 years since this act became law, and racial progress is undeniable.

Overt acts of racism are now met with moral indignation and social alienation. Those who fought for civil rights are considered modern-day saints, and those who actively opposed racial progress are viewed as ignorant at best. Considering how much lip service is given to the notion of a post-racial America, you would think we’ve gotten this race all figured out.

You would be wrong. Dead wrong.

Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Renisha McBride [three unarmed young black people killed by whites—Editor] are but reminders of how much work remains to be done. They show us that stereotypes are not only lamentable—they are deadly.

Further, when juxtaposed with cases like Marissa Alexander (a black, female victim of domestic abuse who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a gunshot into the ceiling of her home while her abuser threatened her), they also serve to show us how race still matters in the American Justice system.

These cases show us why Black History Month remains so important.

As we fight for important causes like economic justice and gender equality, we must never forget that one of America’s oldest sins still lingers: the social sin of racism.

Black History Month is an important reminder about how far the United States  have come, and how far we have yet to go.

Progressive communities have a tendency to sweep racial injustice under the rug as other “in vogue” topics take precedence. Things like LGBTQ issues will take center stage, or student debt will be the topic of the year. All the while, racism festers beneath the surface until acts of violence place it back in the news.

Martin Luther King once wisely wrote: “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” King wisely discerned that many fail to see that injustices suffered by one group affect all groups. Therefore, in ignoring any injustice, one fails to see that “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Translation: We are all in this together.

Black History Month reminds us that while we should work on a multiplicity of important issues, the shadow of racism follows us still—lest we should ever forget.

 

Lawrence_Ware-2.jpg Lawrence Ware is a Professor of Philosophy at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. He is a frequent contributor to the Democratic Left magazine and co-editor of the forthcoming progressive publication RS: The Religious Left. He has been a commentator on race for the Huffington Post Live and NPR’s Talk of the Nation. He has taught and lectured across the country on issues ranging from race to economic policy.

 

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership.


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Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch (9pm Eastern)

October 04, 2016 · 7 rsvps
Webinar, RSVP required for sign in information

So you are now a member of DSA, but there is no local chapter where you live. You are thinking of starting a local chapter, but you're not quite sure how to do it.

In Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch you will learn:

  • how other locals got started in recent years
  • how to find out who is already a member
  • the importance of a comrade
  • how to recruit new members
  • the importance of a mentor
  • how to become a recognized organizing committee
  • how to become a chartered local
  • what works best to bring new people in.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

Instructor:

  • Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

Training Details:

  1. Workshops are free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have preferably headphones or else speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt talt@igc.org 607-280-7649.
  5. If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt schmittaj@gmail.com 608-355-6568.
  6. You can participate in every webinar or just attend once in a while.
  7. Workshops will generally be on weekends or evenings.
  8. Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance -- by midnight Sunday for Tuesday's webinar.

NOTE: This training is scheduled for 9:00pm Eastern Time (8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific, 5pm Alaska, 3 pm Hawaii).

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DSA New Member Orientation Call

October 19, 2016 · 17 rsvps
DSA New Member Orientation

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 6 PM MT; 5 PM PT.

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