February is Black History Month in America. The nationally observed holiday was established by noted American historian Carter Godwin Woodson. As a respected author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, he was one of the first scholars to study African-American history.
Dr. Woodson was the second African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard University. He dedicated his career to the field of African American history and lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide institution, with the hopes that black Americans would one day be fully embraced in America’s historical accounts -- not separately, but inclusively.
This year, African Americans have new reasons to celebrate, and many are saluting President Trump for measurable gains in our black communities.
After almost four years with President Trump at the helm, black Americans have cut losses from previous administrations and are now enjoying gains and benefits of criminal justice reform, record-breaking low unemployment rates, increased support to historically black colleges, family enrichment incentives and so much more.
In 2016 during the presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump did something no other presidential candidate on either side of the aisle has ever sincerely done. He appealed to America’s clack voters: “I want your votes.” Trump not only made that startling statement to the African American community; once elected he made good on his promises.
“What do you have to lose?” These seemingly incendiary words, spoken by then-candidate Donald Trump to America’s African American community at large, released furor and hope simultaneously into an already politically charged atmosphere. While the nation reeled from the shockwaves of that bold query, proponents of the emerging message sallied with a directive: tell us instead what we have to gain!
We find ourselves in a different space this election cycle. With so many new opportunities and advantages before us, we can now afford to rise above our many differences and dissensions and learn to approach diversity with sanity rather than with political warfare. “We may have come over in different boats, but we are in the same boat now,” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said.
One telling and yet encouraging bonus of the Trump presidency is his stance regarding the source of America’s strength: “We don’t worship government, we worship God.” His declaration gives renewed hope to America’s mantra: “In God we trust.” This can cause our hearts to dream again, of truly becoming unified as “One Nation Under God,” and not as separate races, rather as one blood and one human race. As King, Jr said, “We must learn to live together as brothers [and sisters], or perish together as fools.”
One of America’s most egregious challenges is rooted in the myth and socially engineered agenda that causes people to see humanity as “separate races.” Religion, science and philosophy declare the beauty of one human race. It’s time to embrace that truth. We are a human race. The Bible tells us in Colossians 4:2, “Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.”
We also must dispel the concept of “racial color blindness.” Any form of blindness is not good. We must see each other clearly, celebrate our uniqueness and pray for our weakness. Trump noted, “We all bleed the same.”
Today, in the face of the looming elections in November, America would do well to remember the gains that all Americans are experiencing in the “great again experience.” President Trump’s challengers are making bold promises. That’s something all candidates do. However, never in recent history have we seen promises made and promises kept to the magnitude of President Trump’s administration.
African Americans, and indeed all Americans would do well to not be fooled by pretty promises and flashy bucks during this election cycle. Rather we must pray for America, vote for life and continue from victory to victory.