Each year in the United States, Black History Month is celebrated throughout the month of February. This month plays a role in honoring and celebrating the achievements of the Black community in the United States from the past, present, and future. It is also an important time to recognize the struggles of Black Americans as they fought to gain full citizenship in our country - and the ways that those struggles continue to manifest today.
The observance began as a week-long celebration to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Every year, Black History Month is assigned a national theme for reflection and inspiration. The 2023 Black History Month theme is “Black Resistance.” Black Resistance, a theme chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), solemnly remembers instances of lives lost in the service of racial equality and celebrates Black hope and perseverance.
To honor this month, Jesuit’s Black Student Union (BSU) held a celebration at FLEX today. Students played Black History Trivia, answering questions spanning from historical events to pop culture to sports. It was a great way for students to learn more about important Black figures - and have fun doing it.
BSU leaders Asaph Tekeste ’25 and Makende Stewart ’23 spoke about the importance of this month.
“Black History Month is really important to me because it is the one time where we really take the time to appreciate the achievements of Black figures,” Asaph said. “It’s a significant time because often we only focus on the times of hurt for the Black community, and this month we get to put a positive spotlight on the topic.”
“Black History Month to me and my community means being celebrated and remembering who helped us get to where we are today and all of the fight and sacrifice that it took to be able to be free in this country,” Makende said. “Every month should be a reminder and a praise to Black icons and role models, but it’s really amazing having a month where we really get to dive in deeper and remember all that was done for us.”
Makende Stewart ’23, Jada Williams ’25, and Taj Lubrano ’24 also spoke on the significance of their racial and ethnic identities.
“Being born in the Ivory Coast gives me my Ivorian identity, but growing up in the U.S. gives me my American identity. I love being able to blend the both of them,” Makende said. “I also try to educate others on the Ivory Coast because a lot of people have one idea of Africa (the continent and not the individual countries), so I like showing people where I’m from and opening their minds to a new place.”
“My racial identity plays a big part of my life and when I introduce myself to others for the first time,” Taj said. “I am Indian and Cape Verdean (African and Portuguese mixed).”
For Jada, her racial identity is what makes her who she is.
“From childhood I have been reminded by my parents and family that I am a strong, independent black woman, and that ‘Black girl magic’ is limitless,” Jada said. “From brains to brawn, we have it all. Everywhere I go, I carry that with me with pride and wear it on my sleeve.”
Want to learn more about Black culture? These leaders encourage students to get involved in Black Student Union - check out the FLEX calendar for upcoming meetings!