The rose that grew …

Hear me out. Black History Month is an annual celebration of the will of a desperate people, wholly defiant in their rebellion of second-class citizenry. Even as time snowballed it into societal trends and norms to be devoured for capital gains at the cost of degradation, the heart of what defines the month is hidden to the naked eye of the outsider, but ceremoniously nestled in the very core of the culture itself.

Though, I never understood how such a humble people could be perpetually subjected to animosity, and yet, still summon up from within a yearning to make something of themselves, I was grateful to know their spirit never faltered. Even in the face of screaming a question to the heavens that only echoed back unanswered, we're still left begging to know, "Whatever have we done to you …?"

Every February 1 signals the beginning of a proud parading of our vibrant history. One of ingenuity, proactively harvested from the wretched bile left to us throughout the history of America. This 28-day stage gives way for us to be honored. But more so, it reminds us of all we have done to fortify the foundational facets of a country that by and large has berated and surreptitiously penalized us for committing the sin of purely attempting to survive. Yet and still, we're finding ourselves worn out from begging for the validation of our plight, crippled by mischaracterizations of our countenance upon the grandest stages of the world and brokenhearted by repeatedly bearing witness to the execution of our brilliant seeds before they can even take root, unable to go forth to bear the fruit of our struggle's tireless labor. Deftly leaving behind the resolution to sow more potent principles therein, ones others may never truly comprehend, as they can turn a blind eye to what leaves them woefully unscathed, but yet is so necessary for our survival. We only endeavor to overcome.

By pouring ounce after painstaking ounce of ancestral blood out into the fibers of our collective communities, we fostered bridges too resolute to burn at the hands of those blind with white-hooded hate. A villainous kind branded so deep within the afflicted, they choose to not know how to succinctly pinpoint its inception, instead opting to spur it forward through the denial of the very basis core vestiges were erected upon. Leaving us perpetually bleeding our pain, exhaustion, fear and uncertainty through gaping unhealed wounds from the lashings of our stolen hope, left to feel inadequate to our counterparts.

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But February is meant to be different. Instead of purely reminding us of our own painful truths, we're invited to honor our scars and appreciate the destinations to which our tireless journey has granted us access.

Maybe, the collective humanity ingrained deep within us to still strive for better in the face of constant danger, blatant disrespect and degrading objectification is something of a beacon for those who gain strength from seeing our evolution. Possibly, in our brief annual moment of jubilation, onlookers can see the straits they too can elevate from, or give thanks they have never endured the same. Yet, even though those very same witnesses may not have been challenged in such a systematic and smothering oppressive way, they can see we, as a people, are stronger together because of it.

Perhaps, our designated month of examining the history from which we flowed can dispel any mystery as to why we exist in the way we do today, and thus, granting an almost tangible depth to the lengths we will strive to conquer the mountaintops that still tower before us. Our commemoration of the men and women who endeavored to outlast the opposition will stand as hallowed testimony to the purpose of our unified spirit. Possibly, that's why years ago others sought to destroy our pride, because without it all we'd be left with is a fickle semblance of self, haunted and disabled by a long memory. And just maybe, without that pride, we'd be nothing more than what they make of us.

So, could it be then it's not that we need February, but that it needs us? A month that defines core principles of a nation within a nation, one founded through a shared struggle not only to be who we are, but to find exactly what all we can be. Black history, standing as a defiant testament to what an American society, through crippling conditions, can create but not truly define on its own. Black History Month is a designated time crafted to embody more than merely the tale of a people, but also the boundless promise of what we may still become, together. Year after year gently laying new bricks upon one another, ever-expanding the acreage of our historical mansion, filling its sprawling halls with sacred memorabilia, to recall the triumphs our circumstance unwittingly gifted unto us and allowing ourselves to step back in appreciation of that brilliant architecture, each and every February.

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