Our own Karen Groce Horan presents her occasional blog
I, Karen Groce Horan, am committing to live this February '21, not Black History month but Black History IS American History Month in an altogether new way. When I contemplated writing this my first official blog post, I had a different plan in mind. As I meditated on it, my thoughts took a whole new surprising direction. As a Black woman with West Indian and African American roots, I have lived a life where I did not see my story in the K-12 history (His-Story) books I was educated in, for history has been written by the victors. Upon realizing and reconciling this, somewhere in my early 20's, I committed to a journey of learning, growing, understanding, and knowing the history of my ancestry, on whose shoulders I stand. On whose very resilience and strength my own existence is founded and built.
So how will this month of February this year of 2021 be different for me? I am going to challenge myself to live outside my comfort zone and expand beyond my echo chamber. This YouTube video Black man under cover got me thinking. It also reminds me of the movie BlacKkKlansman based on the life of police officer Ron Stallworth. So while I continue the internal work to learn and grow in my understanding of history, I will also seek resources that stretch me, that perhaps challenge my ability to find a lens into that far other side of the spectrum of my anti-racism perspective. My goal is perhaps to find a better understanding of the very racist views and perhaps why there are people that hold true to mistruths about race based constructs. My goal is to bring change and we cannot change what we don't understand.
What will I find, what might I discover, what will I share and discuss with others? Will it bring reconciliation with an older brother, Black with skin a rich, deep hue of brown similar to mine, whose political views couldn't be further from my own; given all that we have lived, witnessed, experienced and been especially astounded by in the months and years leading up to Jan. 6, 2021? These are the perspectives I hope to explore, and learn more about. I certainly don't expect it to cause any great shift in my views, thoughts or opinions. I just hope it can shed light - the light that Amanda Gorman '21 inaugural poet, first Youth Poet Laureate speaks of in her poem The Hill We Climb - "For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it."
This February, the month I will now call Black History IS American History Month, may we all be brave enough to be it and see it; and may we find truth and reconciliation on this journey to justice. Join us on this journey, share resources with others and decide what action you can take to bring change and make a difference to dismantle racism and the systems that continue to treat people differently depending on the race they happened to be born into.
Karen Groce-Horan is Co-Founder and Exec. Director of CCTRJ-MIlton Mattapan and during the week serves as Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at United Way Mass Bay.
Some resources I will be spending time with-