Progress of Today and Tomorrow
February 20, 2022
Black History Month is important to celebrate; African-Americans have come a long way for their rights and for their history to be recognized. The term “history” and the black and white photos tend to make important moments in time, such as the civil rights movement in the 1950s, feel as if it happened further into the past than a few decades ago. It is important to realize this when taking a look at black history being made today. There are events in our history that affect today and there are black history legacies that have started very recently.
One big event was in 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States and the first African-American president. More recently, Kamala Harris became the first black vice president, elected in 2020. This was not Harris’ only “first”, she was also the first vice president to graduate from a historically black university and the first black American to be California’s Attorney General. While these firsts continue to happen in leadership positions in government, there is even more happening in between.
Many efforts have been made by the Biden-Harris Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve health equity and outcomes that disproportionately impact black Americans. Some of these efforts included lowering or eliminating health insurance premiums for millions of lower- and middle-income black families, funding support and COVID-19 vaccines for underserved communities, and introducing more postpartum policies to protect vulnerable mothers. It is big news that such a powerful part of the U.S. government is making strides in helping these major issues, but there is still a long way to go.
Topics such as voting rights, racial injustice, and critical race theory have been in recent news a lot lately. These subjects are far from new, though. The death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and the acquittal of George Zimmerman the following year lead to the use of “Black Lives Matter” for the first time. The use and movement against police brutality grew more over the years, most notably in 2014 when Micheal Brown was fatally shot and more recently, Geoge Floyd in 2020. While these subjects have gained support and more discussion, they have also been met with push-back. But this is where effort starts and blooms; from activism to action. Fortunately, today’s social media platforms have given black Americans an outlet to speak, making it easier for ideas and action to take place. Activism leads to future action and future figures in power to help make black history. Along with celebrating more firsts, we should celebrate the first steps in the future of black history taking place today.