For this Black History Month, I have a lot to be thankful for.
I show respect for my ancestors. Strong, brave and courageous. Not just for fighting back, but in simply enduring. I won’t make the mistake of honoring your sacrifices by losing sight of your humanity. None of you had to do what you did.
You stood up when you were pushed to your knees. With chains shackled around your ankles to keep you from moving, you still pushed forward. Now, because of you, I can run. Fly, even, but not because I’m allowed to, but because you showed me that it’s possible. You answered “nobody” with a chuckle when I asked who was going to stop me.
So I can never speak of you in the past tense. As if what you did is only history, and not present. I find your footprints on the road in front of me. You’ll always have an impact on the future. What you’ve done allows me to be who I am. For that, and that alone, I thank you.
I give love to friends, family, and all black people in the struggle. You’ve shown me that blackness is bigger than skin. That black lives matter can be more than a catchphrase. What we do for the culture is for ourselves and that is okay. Blackness is a promise we’ve made to each other to stand united against everything that opposes us.
Blackness was once a shadow. We thought we needed someone else’s light to be seen. In truth, we’re the galaxy and have always been. Indeed, without darkness, there can be no light. Knowing this truth, I see why people fear the dark. Notice how stars shine brighter when the night is at its darkest. There’s pride is being needed when we’re not wanted. We’re empowered because my worth means more than the bleak reality forced onto us.
I want to shake my own hand. Thank you for your ability of touch, as allows me to feel. Thank you for not giving my culture away to someone else to make profit of. Thank you for not peeling away this skin like a snake to throw away for something other.
I look into my eyes. Seek admiration in the dark honey brown brewing inside each pupil. Thank you for not being color blind. Thank you for seeing things the way they are and not as how I want to see them. Thank you for seeing me even when I want to look elsewhere.
All the praise to Black Jesus, Black Universe, Black God. You showed that blackness is beautiful. That it’s not this scary thing I need a flashlight for. I can bathe in darkness and not drown in it. Darkness can wash over me and I’ll still be okay. And I am.
Thank Black Jesus, I didn’t discover blackness in my 20s. Thank Black Universe, I was never ashamed of any aspect of being black. To accept all hues and tints of blackness, from ‘ghetto black’ to ‘nerdy black’ and all others. All shades of blackness can paint a beautiful picture on any canvas.
I love blackness. It seeps into every corner and crevice, no matter how small and oppressing. Isn’t it interesting how light can only enter the places where darkness already exists? As if light can only shine in the places not belonging to it. Makes me think that maybe light isn’t as good as we were told.
What if blackness is dark for a reason? To blind us so we have no choice but to search for something. That’s what I hope for when it comes to my life. That I find everything that I’m searching for. To not sacrifice the dark so I can be seen in the light.
No spotlight can ever change a person, but darkness can. When no one is looking, we don’t have to pretend. We cannot tell a lie to the dark when it demands the truth. We cannot hide behind a costume in a dark room when no one can see it. Blackness never judges us for our secrets, but demands us to embrace them.
So for this Black History Month, I implore we embrace our blackness and everything that comes with it. To not let those who depend on light to see things tell us a false reality. We know ourselves. So why take the word of anyone else when it comes to who we should be?
The thing about blackness is that it’s like a blank canvas. We can create anything and call it art. We can be anything and call ourselves Gods.