As a member of the Diversity Panel, my hope is to enlighten the community by bringing about understanding through real-life stories. Some will fill your hearts with joy while others may bring you center stage with harsh realities. I hope to focus on stories that offer a-day-in-a-life perspective, columns that promote community awareness and, in some cases, offer self-healing.
As we embrace the new year with visions of high hope, do we dare step out of our comfort zones and allow ourselves to experience the vast diversity around us?
On Jan. 17 we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. His contributions were profound. Most notable was the vision he often remarked on, to one day see a nation where people are standing side by side embracing each other’s differences.
Though progress has been made, we have all fallen short in our beliefs that it takes a village.
The simple truth is that we might just be on this Earth for a while and our saving grace could come from anywhere. If you found yourself in flood waters, would it matter who was there to rescue you? Let not the actions of some discourage the privilege of indulging in an amazing culture.
We are now in the beginning of the month of February, which is significant because we celebrate accomplishments of great people. Black History Month was originally celebrated in 1926 as Negro History Week.
Historian Carter G. Woodson founded an organization called the Association for the Study of Negro Life & History (ASNLH). In 1925, Woodson and members of ASNLH set out to raise awareness of African American contributions to civilization. They felt major strides were being made by African Americans with little or no recognition or documentation.
February was chosen because it was the month both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas were born – two very notable heroes in their own right.
Determined to honor hardworking heroes, both black and whites banded together to make this a reality. This was done in honor of African American people who helped build this great nation through inventions, medical discoveries, blood, sweat and tears.
Boundaries were crossed as people came together for a cause that would last for generations to come. We can all be proud.
In 1976 President Gerald Ford issued a proclamation to extend the celebration to last one month. He wanted the country to honor great works by African Americans, including those who played a huge role in the history of our country. Every president since 1976 has signed this proclamation declaring February as Black History Month. The notion “each one can teach one” lives on, especially in a community as diverse as ours.
This month let’s all challenge ourselves to make a conscious effort to seek out an event or activity that celebrates a culture other than our own. Find a new restaurant, check out a play or find yourself in a local church and let the music and praise fill your heart.
We should showcase our diversity with pride and raise the level of respect for ourselves and others. The outcome may astound us all.
I would love to hear from readers on their own adventure or newfound passion to celebrate life and the realization that we all matter. We should all remember a great man’s dream.
Angel Roberson, mother and emergency technician at Providence St. Peter Hospital for 11 years, is a member of The Olympian’s Diversity Panel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.