Black History Is Human History: Honoring the Struggles of People of Color, Beyond February…
Hospitality House is proud to join in solidarity with our community partners as we celebrate Lunar New Year, Tet Nguyen Dan, and Black History Month.
We recognize and honor the ancestors – as warriors and trailblazers, inventors and thinkers, revolutionaries and martyrs, artists and dreamers. Poet Warriors and Warrior Poets. The struggles of people of color reveal bonds forged in the cauldron of calamity, of inexplicable suffering – and of incandescent hope.
No single month could possibly uplift all that we have been, aspire to be, and have yet to realize. Indeed, no monthly calendar could possibly document all the pain we’ve endured, nor all the troubles we’ve seen. We turn to the pages of our own collective book of days, marked by triumph and tears, of terror visited in the night, of footprints in the snow.
It would be disingenuous to attempt to chronicle the hardships and triumphs of a people, which capture the essence of our human journey – that trail of tears. What has been visited upon our children within these shores, and beyond, remains a painful reminder of our shared struggle, and our continued fight to proclaim and preserve our own humanity.
Nearly 2 million slaves – human beings – died during the Middle Passage, having been forcibly removed from their ancestral home to die in the dark at sea. Shackled like chattel to toil for profit, strangers in a strange land. An estimated 1.5 million children killed – exterminated – in the Holocaust. Hatred and brutality beyond imagination, grief without end. Darkness.
Nearly 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho women, children and elders were massacred in Sand Creek, Colorado by US Army troops. Barbarism. More than 200 black sharecroppers in Elaine, Arkansas murdered by mobs of white vigilantes. Hatred at gunpoint.
More than 110,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes and nearly 1900 would perish in American concentration camps. The crime of coming to America.
14 year-old Emmett Till lynched, shot, and beaten to death. A black teenager. Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson – all 14 years old. Carole Denise McNair – age 11. Four Black girls killed in Birmingham, Alabama. In church. By the KKK.
Soweto, South Africa, 12-year old Hector Pieterson is among dozens of school children gunned down in cold blood by South African police. The world was horrified by Hector’s bullet-riddled body being carried by an anguished classmate.
More than 200 migrants died while in US Customs and Border Patrol custody – including an infant who died while her mother screamed frantically for help. On American soil.
Human beings stacked on top of one another – twelve deep. Children incinerated – alive – in ovens. Unarmed women and children shot to death in river beds. Children imprisoned in American concentration camps. School children gunned down in the street. A Black teenager lynched – then shot, then beaten beyond recognition. Children were blown up as they prayed. In church. Toddlers locked in cages.
Our fellow human beings. Our ancestors. Our children. Black. Brown. Yellow. Red. Footprints in the snow…
In March 1955, an unwed pregnant teenager named Claudette Colvin refused to sit in the back of a bus in Montgomery Alabama. Nine months before Rosa Parks. Movement elders considered young Claudette to be a liability, so history would wait. In November 1956, nearly a year after the Montgomery Bus Boycott began, the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation on Alabama’s bus system was unconstitutional. Five black women were the plaintiffs. One of them, an unwed teenage mother named Claudette Colvin. More footprints in the snow…
Our struggle is indeed OUR struggle. Black History is Human History.
Gong Hay Fat Choy. Chuc Mung Nam Moi.