"Black History Month is a time of reflection for me, but it is also a time of celebration. "
Sabrina Williams, a student at Springfield College, shares what Black History Month means to her and how being biracial shaped the way she learned about herself and her roots.
Black History Month is a time of reflection for me,
but it is also a time of celebration.
Since I am biracial, my experiences have been unique. Growing up, I was educated on my Latino heritage alone, hindering my opportunity to learn about Black history and traditions. Once I got to high school, I was hyper-aware of my race since I was one of three women of color in my grade. As I progressed through high school, I experienced a series of unfortunate events due to the color of my skin, and I always questioned what made me different. I was aware of racism, discrimination, and prejudice, but to this day, I do not understand why it exists.
As a person of color, you are constantly reminded of your race. However, through personal experience, I have come to notice that the reflection on who I am as a person of color takes place primarily during Black History Month. Being one of the few people in my family that is half Black as well as darker in complexion, l found it challenging to express my curiosity about my race to my family. So I set out to do some research, and from there, my knowledge grew.
I learned about the history of slavery, Black Wall Street, and, most importantly, the Civil Rights Movement. Although it may seem like these times are over, they have only shifted and it is hard for me, along with other people in the Black community, to accept this. In addition, I have become more aware of the lack of representation of people of color. As I get older and advance in my education I notice that there are few people of color who have made it this far. I struggle to find professors to whom I can relate to, as well as office personnel, not just throughout campus, but at the bank, the company I interned for last summer, basically everywhere. This lack of representation has sparked motivation in me. As I continue to advance in my education and eventually my career, I will be a representation of people of color, and I will be proof that advancement for us, although not easy, is possible.
Black History Month is an exciting time for me because it allows me to remind myself that Black people are more than just our bondage and our struggle. A lot of us have made it to college or are working towards it, and although this may not seem like a big deal to some people, it is for us. Getting a college education as a person of color is hard, especially when, as is often the case, you are the first in your family to go to college, or when there is a lack of representation and resources to keep us enrolled. However, achieving such a task is celebratory because you become one step closer to advancement, and with this, we can be the representation that we did not have.
Black History Month for me is also a time to celebrate heritage, and although not all Black people carry the same traditions, there is something comforting about gathering together to share what makes us unique. It is a time to celebrate things such as food, music, and even hair. It is a time to bask in the differences we carry and to be proud of them. Overall, Black History Month for me is a time of pride—in myself and my race. Although at times it may be challenging to be a Black person, it is something I would never change.