Black History Month - Looking Around
In looking around we are recognizing the fight is ongoing because the ripples of slavery, segregation, and discrimination are still present today.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
– James Baldwin
For many, the term “Black History Month”, reminds us of the 1960’s with the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We think Brown v Board of Education, Emmitt Till, the Little Rock Nine, Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott, or our country’s passive abandonment of Jim Crow.
The passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Fair Housing Act are key victories in the fight against racial injustice, and it’s important to understand what is happening around us as well as what we can do to today.
As we “Look Around Us” today, there is ample evidence of disparate outcomes for select members of our society--in the context of Black History Month--here are some stark examples. It is important for each of us to remember, that behind each faceless statistic, there are people, children, families, and Black communities. What has become clear to many in the quest to address the issues facing these communities, is the role that systemic racism has played historically and today in creating the disparities.
- Education - School districts that predominantly serve students of color received $23 billion less in funding than mostly white school districts in the United States in 2016, despite serving the same number of students, a new report found. (Source)
- Housing - Today redlining prevents businesses owned by people of color from getting loans, and predatory lending results in higher interest rates in low-income communities of color. (Source)
- Criminal Justice - Statistically, Black males are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police. 1,127 people were killed by Police in 2020; Black people comprise 28% of the total, despite only being 13% of the US population. (Source)
- Healthcare - Black mothers have the highest rate of infant mortality at 10.8 deaths per 1000 live births, compared to Hispanic (4.9), White (4.6), and Asian (3.6) mothers per 1000 live births. (CDC | Source)
Today, we have an obligation and an opportunity to change the systems to produce more equitable outcomes for everyone in our society. While it is encouraging to see that progress has been made, we all still need to act to continue to make the necessary changes.
- In 2018, Stacey Abrams of Georgia became the first African American female major-party gubernatorial nominee in the United States
- Only 11 African Americans have been elected to the US Senate; the highest number of Black senators serving at one time is three. (Source)
- In 2019, 8.7% of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies surveyed had CEOs of Color (Source)
- Mind the Gap is the first medical textbook that addresses clinical signs on darker skin. It was published on December 14, 2020. (Source)
- Of the 539 people serving in congress right now, only 115 members are people of color, with only 64 members being African American. (Source)
“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.“
Angela Y. Davis