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A new kind of Black History Month

Ife Barker | 2/16/2017, 2:08 p.m.
Every day for the month of February this year, I have posted, to my Facebook page, the photo and story ...
Emmett Till, Rekia Boyd, Malcolm X, Philando Castile and Tanisha Anderson Wikipedia Commons

Every day for the month of February this year, I have posted, to my Facebook page, the photo and story of a Black person who was killed by police. I have done this because I am tired. Tired of the generic Black History facts taught by our schools. We all grew up reading about Dr. King and looking at that same layout of a slave ship in our U.S. History books. But, our history is far from beautiful. It’s been so sugarcoated over the years. We are still making history. Every time an officer of the law murders one of us, history is made.

I feel as though we are placed on one of two sides of Black history. One side being “I have a dream,” and the other being, “By any means necessary.” But, there is so much more in between.

The world needs to know, my 13-year-old son needs to know, that Rekia Boyd had a family. That Tamir Rice was someone’s son. That Tanisha Anderson wasn’t “crazy.” That no matter what the media has told you, Chavis Carter did not commit suicide. We need to know them. We need to say their names. Our children need to know that Alton Sterling’s son Cameron watched his father die in that parking lot. And that he shouldn’t have had to.

I cry as I write this. Because Michael Brown being called a thug is my history. The little girl being in that backseat of Philando Castile’s car when the police murdered him is my son’s history. I cry because George Zimmerman will continue to rack up mugshots, while the picture on the front of Trayvon’s obituary is the last picture of him that will ever be published. I shed tears because Terence Crutcher will never be able to finish college. I cry because the world will continue to revolve without them, and that’s not fair.

I love and appreciate the Martin Luther Kings and the Harriet Tubmans for the way they paved and the sacrifices they made. But I never want to forget the George Stinneys, the Emmett Tills, the Sandra Blands. The ones who gave their lives in the past 100 years, for simply wanting to be Black and free.