As I was beginning to write this article on Black History Month, because, of course, it is February, it felt as if I just wrote this article. Time continues to fly by, even though it seems stagnant. Irrespective of all that has happened in the past year, learning, knowing and understanding what has happened historically remains critical to our existence. We must learn from the experiences and build as we move forward.
Black History Month was created as a way to shine the light on the great depth, and breath of Black Americans’ roots, triumphs and accomplishments that have been consistently excluded in the telling of the history of the United States. America has relied on authors of history books to tell our story; however, the perspective has not been one without bias.
Typically, the power is in the hands of the author to present themselves in the best light, but the perspective does not usually include insight from Black Americans. Historical events related to or involving Black Americans has often been misconstrued and written in a way that discounts our unique experiences.
Limited historical perspective has also trivialized the impact of Black American intelligence, innovation, leadership and culture. It may be strategic or it may just be the perception. Just as the Civil War has been presented as the “War of Northern Aggression,” there are striking examples of how the history of institutional racism and oppression is glossed over due to perspective.
This past year, or past four years, we have seen how misrepresentation of the facts creates a movement that confuses and misguides. This kind of misinformation allows for the continued justification, oppression and degradation of disenfranchised people.
The continued murdering of unarmed Black people by law enforcement professionals, such as George Floyd, who was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, compared to the safe capture of white people who murder others, such as Dylann Roof who shot nine Black Bible study attendants in cold blood, perpetuates the reality that Black people are scary and should be shot on sight while white people can be reasoned with and should be preserved.
As Black people, we cannot leave our history to others to tell or to create. We have an opportunity and responsibility to not only educate the future generations about our history as well as create our stories that we want told for generations to follow.
One of the stories that we continue to hear is the racial wealth gap was created because Black Americans are extreme consumers, lazy and unwilling to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. I am excited about the movement of economic empowerment for Black people.
I no longer am comfortable being passive about telling our story. As such, I am building a network of professionals who are committed to shaping our story as one of power. That was the motivation for the creation of the Association of Black Estate Planning Professionals. This nonprofit organization was developed to collaborate with Black professionals committed to economic empowerment. Black people cannot allow others to tell our story. Together we need to educate and serve our community with the intent to strengthen and build with a strength-based vantage point.
I am excited that the Association of Black Estate Planning Professionals is presenting “The Racial Wealth Gap Virtual Conversations,” which will discuss the creation, perpetuation and resolutions on Feb. 26, 2021. For more information, visit abepp.org.
As always, Black people are indeed amazing! We are so much greater together!