Alexandréa Worthy, Team Lead, High School
An unfortunate condition has touch our society. Too often, we sacrifice self, in place of things, people, and events that occur on a day-to-day basis. In the second and shortest month of the year, we buy balloons and teddy bears to show our devotion to others. Additionally, we highlight certain thinkers, movers, and shakers in America’s history to pay homage to one of its historically underrepresented groups.
Black history did not begin in the United States. However, during February, popular culture stresses the experiences of black Americans. Consequently, we revisit slavery, freedom, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, classrooms across the nation are exploring black inventors, scientists, artists, writers, and politicians. But are they talking about love? The answer should be yes because the resistance of a marginalized group is the greatest lesson that we could ever learn about self-love.
Self-Love as an Act of Resistance
Black History Month used to be an effort rooted in research, inclusion, and societal shifts. It was built to open the conversation about race relations and was born from resistance. In short, resistance made way for freedom, freedom made way for education, education exposed exclusion, and exclusion mobilized efforts to broaden the voices of American stories. It is no easy task to fight against the law of the land. You must be extremely motivated to commit yourself to standing or dying for what is right. One could argue that the harsh conditions that black Americans were subjected to were reason enough to go against the grain. However, that desire… that passion… it is something more. It is love. To be exact, it is self-love.
Webster’s Dictionary defines self-love as a regard for one’s own happiness or advantage. Taking it a step further, Dictionary.com defines it as the instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being, especially an excessive regard for one’s own advantage.
The courageous individuals that we will celebrate this month loved themselves enough to risk it all. They used what they had and what they imagined to change the only world they knew. This act of resistance was an act of self-love.
Celebrating History with Love
The challenges that many of us face do not compare to those faced by Henry “Box” Brown, Harriet Jacobs, or John Lewis. Nevertheless, we can use their dedication to self-love and self-preservation as a guide. To be socially and emotionally well, you must take care of yourself. Many of us do not do our best with self-care. Society expects us to give so much of ourselves to others. Prioritizing self-care, which comes from a place of self-love, in a society that wasn’t built around it, is shaking up the norm. It’s resisting the idea that you must push yourself to the limit. It is loving yourself. Frankly, this is one of the ways in which I am choosing to celebrate black history. I choose to honor the Americans before me that resisted out of love. Will you join me?
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde