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Unity is even more important this Black History Month

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The end of Black History Month is drawing near and it is important that we think about unity between, not only members of the black community, but other minorities as the Trump administration and alt-right supremacists target them.

For most of our time in this country black Americans have faced paramount struggles and hardships at the hands of systemic racism. We are still fighting for equality, but not in the same manner our forerunners have. Instead of legalized and apparent slavery and segregation, we are fighting the effects systemic racism has left on our communities and neighborhoods: police brutality, mass incarceration and “subtle” discrimination and racism.

Because we, and many other minorities who have felt the cruel blade of racism in this country, have been through hell and back as a people, it is highly important that we stand with those who feel like they cannot fight for themselves and aid those who can.

President Donald Trump’s administration has targeted Muslims, “illegal” immigrants, Mexicans and many others in the name of “making America great again.” America has never been great for anyone who was not a heterosexual, white male and it is important we do not forget and allow the validation of white supremacist ideas to continue.

We need to stand with our Muslim friends and let the government know that we will not tolerate Islamophobia.

We must protect immigrants who came to this country looking for a better life and contributed to the culture and economy in ways that the District of Columbia is not willing to recognize.

We should be yelling as loudly as our Mexican brothers and sisters to discount the harmful and dangerous rhetoric spewed by Trump and his supporters.

We know what it feels like to be told we do not belong, that we should “go back” to where we came from and to be criminalized based solely on appearance and stereotypes. No one is more qualified to help those in need than us, because our community knows what discrimination is like and we can just as easily be in the same boat our elders were 60 years ago.

It is also important to not forget the allies during our fight for civil rights and equality—white and nonwhite. Our movement and cause was only strengthened by the support of others and it is now our time to help.

However, let us not forget that we are still black and therefore not in the clear. Do not confuse your current privilege with the belief that you are safe or have no need to help others. Just as we have begun the climb out of darkness, we can easily fall into descent.

Become proactive in the community and aid those in need. We must help and fight for each other because we are fighting for something bigger than ourselves—we are fighting for equality, justice and our country.

 

­-Mikala Everett is a digital media innovation senior

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