February is the month we celebrate love and Black History Month. I love black love. I am of mixed heritage, and I am proud of my entire cultural heritage, but I identify as a Black Woman. Black love can be a beautiful thing. Black love can be described as the affection, partnership, and commitment between individuals within the Black community. It encompasses the unique historical experiences we share and have survived. It reveals our resilience, solidarity, and support of one another and our community. As we celebrate Black History Month let us not forget the sacrifices of our ancestors and the love, they expect us to extend towards one another.
Black love and encouraging it is important for many reasons. It helps promote self-love and the love of our community. We come from a long line of strong people who have survived so many challenges and have developed a powerful cultural heritage. When we stand together and support one another there is nothing we cannot do. Knowing who we are and our strengths, we can build strong families, communities, and businesses. Together we can fight systemic issues that affect our families and communities in ways that no one else can do. By supporting one another we can keep our history and stories alive.
Appreciating Black Love starts at home. My paternal grandmother, Rebecca Ruth Reed Harris, also known as, Mother Dear, raised me to be proud of who I am and to always do my best. She was born and raised in the South and is the first generation born free. Her father was born into slavery in 1861 and was freed in 1865 when word finally got to Texas regarding the Emancipation Proclamation. While I was in college at UCLA, one of my professors, Beverly Robinson, taught us to be proud of our ancestors and our history. In her class, I wrote a piece on my grandmother and shared not only her history but also the stories she shared with me about her childhood and parents. That paper became the impetus for me to get involved with researching our family history and sharing it with others.
Black love is liberating because once we accept ourselves and our community, we can begin the process of helping others. Our community has historical traumas. It is critical that we love one another if we are going to move forward and for the hope of future generations. Love can be a powerful thing. It can inspire, uplift, and transform our lives. When we love ourselves and others it opens the door for situations such as forgiveness. When we extend love, it can serve as a bridge to bring people together and to help us mend fences and connect people at the core. When we truly have love in our hearts, we are kind and generous, and it fosters rebuilding relationships.
True love also demands we respect ourselves and how we portray ourselves in the community. We must move away from negative stereotypes, Black on Black crime, and pulling each other down. We can direct the narrative by sharing all the positives in our community such as Black love, Black businesses, and Black literature, and when one of our own excels be happy for them and support them in the work they are doing. In the end, there is nothing like Black love and feeling appreciated and cared for. This month take a step in showing love not only to others in our community but also to all humanity. #BlackLove #Valentinesday #BHM
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on.