|Joyce Brown Lewis and Renee Cardwell|
I was touched by the stories we heard from our parents and their classmates. These stories are a constitutive part of American history. For over 240 years black people had no rights. After slavery ended there was an 80 year period of Black Codes, Jim Crow Laws, and segregation. Every advancement towards justice has been met by a stiff push back. Justice is always on the horizon, but it has yet to fully warm all of us in its glow. America owes a debt to the lives lost fighting for the promises in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Black History Month, at its best, is a gateway drug to a life committed to the pursuit of justice. I'm not ashamed of where I come from, or the people who produced me. A thousand years from now historians, social scientists, and religious scholars will still be studying this movement and the people who made it possible. This movement won't end until America's promises are a reality. If you're willing to sacrifice popularity and opportunity for the sake of justice there's a place for you in this movement. As a society, we've come far enough to see the progress past generations have made, but we still have a lot of work to do. This fight continues! Our generation owes a debt to the people who sacrificed so much to get us this far and a moral obligation to keep fighting for generations to come.