February is a month dedicated to honoring Black History and to focus on the many contributions of Black Americans to the greatness of our nation, achievements that are often ignored and not seen as part of our collective history — Black history is American history. This month offers yet another opportunity to focus on the changes yet to be enacted as a country for Black Americans to fully participate in the American Dream.
One important component to break the cycle of inequities for Black Americans in our society is love. Many in history have seen the power of love as the key to enact change. Today, we need to embody the essence of love as we continue to address the multiple challenges facing our country and honor our ancestors’ legacy.
It’s been overwhelming to witness the hate displayed by many in our society today. The Black Lives Matters protests prompted and fueled by the racial injustice still faced by the Black community have not deterred the killings of Black men and women across the nation. We have witnessed unforgettable violent scenes against fellow Americans deprived of equal protection under the law even at the hands of the police who are meant to protect and secure public safety. The essence of love is hard to find in these dark days, but it is the practice of love and respect what will heal and allow all of us to move forward.
Prominent Black Americans have eloquently extolled the power of love in addressing racial injustice and the myriad inequities that prevent many in our country from reaching a better quality of life. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
The renowned Black American Poet Laureate, Dr. Maya Angelou, gave us a lesson in the healing power of love when she said, “Love is that condition in the healing spirit so profound that it allows us to forgive; love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, and penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
The first Black President of the United States, Barack Obama, pointed to lessons of love and securing a better future for our children, “Above all, our children need our unconditional love, whether they succeed or make mistakes; when life is easy and when life is tough.” Our children, regardless of race and nationality, deserve our love and the opportunity to thrive.
As a nation, we have our work cut out for us to achieve racial equity, diverse representation, a kinder society, and love for one another. World leaders appeal to our collective humanity and look to the common objects of love as a path for unity.
Each of us can take steps to honor all in our society, not just during significant holidays. It is our collective responsibility to our common heritage to open the doors of opportunities to all Americans and embrace the contributions of our diverse cultures.
Let us knock down barriers on the road to racial equality and remediate health disparities particularly in the Black communities by advocating for access, affordability, and quality healthcare for all; by insisting a good education is the right of all our children; and let us embrace democracy, respect the Constitution, and honor the Declaration of Independence proclaiming the three rights which human beings possess by birth: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Consider how you can help the nation heal. There are loving battles you can embrace:
- Donate to one of the many advocacy groups dedicated to social equality initiatives
- Volunteer in your community in support of programs that empower underrepresented communities
- Exercise your power as a consumer to be ever more mindful of supporting brands and employers that commit to change. Love the brands that care.
Let us seize with love the teachable moments with our family, neighbors and especially our children and teach Black History as American History for a better future based on the common objects of our love and humanity.
If people choose to hate so much, I can choose to love and thereby help create the society we all deserve. Join me.
Gloria Rodriguez, President and CEO, Comunicad LLC