From Black History to Black Our Story
Despite the fuss and confusion, Black queer people are often the “glitch in the matrix” that people are praying for!
February is Black History Month, when we unite in recognizing and honoring the abundance of Black history and achievements. While it is important to continue recognizing the contributions of Black individuals throughout time, this is also an opportunity to expand our perspective and envision a future where we celebrate Blackness in its entirety, including the significant contributions of the LGBTQ+ community — or Black queer people — within the larger context of our shared human experience.
As we continue this global celebration, I offer these words of empowerment (consider them food for reflection and conscious expansion).
This is intended for Black queer people; however, everyone can eat. It is time we update the telling of Black Excellence.
Whose story is it anyway? It’s ours. So, let’s shift our perspective from “Black History Month” to “Black Our Story.”
Black History is not just about the past; it’s about our living story, a narrative still being written. Our actions today contribute to the ongoing story of Blackness, and they have the power to shape the course of narratives for future generations.
Shifting our perspective to “Black Our Story” is not just a change of words; it’s a powerful shift in mindset. It empowers us to actively participate in shaping our narrative rather than passively receiving tales from someone else. It reminds us that Blackness is not a monolithic tale of the past but a diverse and evolving experience unfolding every moment that includes Black queer people, different identities and intersections.
Carter G. Woodson, the architect of Black History Month, understood the power of history in shaping identities and communities. He sought to ensure that the achievements and contributions of Black individuals were recognized and celebrated. Woodson’s vision was clear: for Black Americans to reclaim their narrative, tell their own stories and have their voices heard in a world that often silenced them.
“Black Our Story” is the rich expression of Black Excellence in all its forms — a living, breathing and timeless observation.
Blackness, symbolized by the color black, encompasses all colors, much like how a rainbow includes a spectrum of hues. This symbolism is a powerful representation of the entirety of the Black experience. Celebrating Blackness in its full expression means acknowledging and valuing every shade and nuance within the community.
Black Queer people, often seen as the “glitch in the matrix,” represent this divergence from predefined societal norms and constructs. Yet, this “glitch” is not an error; it’s a powerful force for change.
The “matrix” symbolizes the societal frameworks and constructs that often dictate our existence and behavior. The “glitch,” our divergence from these paths, creates new possibilities for identity, self-expression and acceptance. Black queer individuals challenge the status quo, question norms and pave the way for greater inclusivity and acceptance.
Intersectionality is a crucial aspect of honoring our story. It acknowledges that we are not just Black or LGBTQ+. We are a complex makeup of identities that intersect and shape our experiences. It means that we cannot address issues of race without also addressing issues of gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, etc.
By embracing intersectionality, we can create a more inclusive, equitable and just world for everyone.
“Black Our Story” is not a month-long celebration; it holds space across time to acknowledge and honor the oneness and uniqueness of the Black experience. It’s an ongoing conversation about addressing current challenges, advocating for social justice and celebrating our achievements. It’s about breaking free from the constraints that have limited us and embracing our true selves. It’s about exploring and refining our expression of life as we see fit.
It’s about inspiring future generations to continue the legacy of resilience, creativity, and strength that defines our community.
As we observe “Black Our Story,” let us remember it’s not just a time for reflection but a renaissance, a call to action. We celebrate our achievements, recognize our diversity, and acknowledge the ongoing stories that shape our narrative. “Black Our Story” empowers us to actively create and tell our narratives in ways that reflect our desires and values. Let’s commit to working towards a more inclusive and just world for all, this month and beyond.
To all my beautiful Black queer family: Continue being luminaries of light in worlds of darkness. I’ll leave you with this quote from one of my favorite mentors: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Jalenzski seeks to empower people to make peace, love, joy, knowledge, health and wellness more accessible and equitable for themselves and those around them. With a passion for human understanding, sexuality and spirituality, he studies the world, seeking new truths and tools to create a greater now, which leads to a better tomorrow. Jalenzski teaches yoga and other spiritual practices, cultivating spaces where people can experience the divine light within themselves and grow with each breath. Feel free to reach out at email@example.com.