by the Editorial staff of Illiana’s student newspaper, the Echo
LANSING, Ill. (January 26, 2018) – Many people probably saw the words “Black History Month” in this headline and squirmed because of controversies in Illiana’s past. But this year, instead of punitive “cannots”, the school is promoting what we “can.”
Illiana has been proactive in making February a positive celebration. The student council planned in advance to have a series of posters throughout the school with Scripture from various Martin Luther King Jr. quotes. The Better Illiana Through Better Understanding Club, one of the only good things to spring out of last year’s controversy, held a special meeting to discuss what it should do for Black History Month. Students and administration have not only been talking about Black History Month, but we’re talking positively about it.
In recent years Illiana has not acknowledged Black History Month. There wasn’t much complaint about this—until last year. With racial tensions at a high because of a particularly difficult election season, students felt attacked, and racism felt quite nearby. In times like these, Black History Month is truly important.
Black History Month was first established during a time of racial tension and misunderstanding, and it’s still relevant today especially in times of struggle. When racism can mask itself as legitimate political commentary, we need Black History Month. When students see those words and can think only of the events of last year, we need Black History Month. When we as a nation feel we have taken some steps backwards on addressing race relations, we need Black History Month. Thank you, Illiana, for being proactive and for hearing the call.
In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to share these 5 inspiring quotes from some of the strongest leaders this world has ever known:
“It is impossible to struggle for civil rights, equal rights for blacks, without including whites. Because equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: we all have it, or none of us has it. That is the truth of it.” -Maya Angelou
Black History Month has never been about trying to exalt blacks to a position above whites or any other race, but rather focusing on their history which is too often ignored because of a history of oppression in this country.
“One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.” -Franklin Thomas
We are those descendants. We can now look back at this history, black history. Some of it is terrible and sad, but if we don’t know our history, we are doomed to repeat it.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
In times of trials and tribulation, when injustice seems too prevalent, we need light. Light is brought with love, not by getting angry at each misunderstanding of one another.
“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” -Malcolm X
In the midst of a time when our very own political leaders seem to encourage racism, we need to remember that they don’t need to set the bar for our moral character—especially as we follow Christ, not politicians or parties.
“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” -Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks actually did something illegal, but right. Imagine if she had decided not to do so because she had been too afraid. Our hope is that Illiana will become a place where there is no reason to fear doing what is right.
Illiana Christian High School is currently located at 2261 Indiana Avenue in Lansing. For more information, call 708-474-0515.