WDMCS Students’ Views: Why Black History Month Is Important (02/08/21)
Feb. 8, 2021
Over this last week, I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with two of our district’s dynamic student-leaders about Black History Month (BHM) and its impact on their lives.
Kendell “Carlos” Cropp, a senior with aspirations to attend Des Moines Area Community College to obtain his commercial driver’s license (CDL), and Micah Banks, a junior who has her goals fixed on attending medical school and becoming an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), both attend the Walnut Creek Campus and were eager to share their thoughts around BHM.
—Anthony Ferguson, Jr., Ed.D.
WDMCS Executive Director for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity
Why is Black History Month important?
Micah: Black History Month is important because it is a time where we can speak up about all of the wonderful things Black people have done and created in our history. It is also a time for us to speak out about all of the horrific things we have been through for hundreds of years in this country. This month gives Black people the recognition and appreciation for how intelligent and creative we are, and allows us all the chance to learn about more amazing people of color than the ones we are hear about every day.
Carlos: Black History Month means a lot and highlights the accomplishment of Black people in America. It shouldn’t only be celebrated in the month of February and then forgotten about, but we should be celebrating it year-round. We don’t learn as much as you think about Black history in school. We sometimes get into those topics, but it also sometimes gets pushed to the side for more topics like George Washington, etc.
Micah: Black History Month is a time for me to explore and learn more about the history of Black people in this country. It is a time to educate other people who are less aware of the things Black people have contributed, and raise awareness that there is still discrimination. If more people speak up about racism and discrimination, and use their platform, we can make even more strides—not only for Black people, but for other people of color who experience racism and discrimination.
Who is a central figure in Black History that inspires you?
Carlos: I am inspired by the civil rights movement and leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s participation in gaining Black people the right to vote is something that has always inspired me. Dr. King had a willingness to not give up, and he wanted to see equality. Muhammad Ali is another person that comes to mind who did a lot of things that weren’t scripted for the Black community.
Micah: Bessie Coleman is someone who inspires me. She was the first licensed Black woman pilot in the world. She inspires me because she wasn’t only the first Black pilot in the 1900s, but she was a woman. There were few women pilots in the 1900s, and even still today.
It inspires me because in the medical field, there are few Black women OB-GYN doctors, and my dream is to become an OB-GYN one day. I want to make sure that people of color feel like they receive the same care as everyone else. People of color have higher chance of losing their child during childbirth or dying themselves because of discrimination practices by some doctors and nurses. I have read many articles about things that go on in the medical field that alarm me, and this is why I want to make changes.
In 50 years, when we celebrate Black History Month, what do you want to be celebrated for?
Carlos: I want the world to remember the friendliness that I had with everyone else, no matter what race they were. I want people to remember me being positive and upbeat, not really worrying about the politics.
Micah: I don’t think I will ever compare to the amazing Black people who have impacted America, but I would like to be celebrated for being a good person. I would want it to be known that Black people are just as capable of doing good things like anyone else, and that Black people can make an impact on the world. I want to be celebrated for giving to the less fortunate and doing right, even when no one is looking.