“The movement is a rhythm to us/ Freedom is like religion to us/ Justice is juxtapositionin’ us/ Justice for all just ain’t specific enough” – Common
February is known as Black History Month, but this month represents so much more to us as minorities. It is a tribute to how far our society has come and a reminder of how much further we must go to address racial inequality. We recognize Black History Month because, as Eric Liu writes, “The experience of African-Americans is exceptional in its systematic, multigenerational, reverberating effects. And it’s exceptional in its centrality to the founding and building of our nation. No experience reveals more than the African-American experience both the hypocrisy and the possibility of our national creed.”
This month also represents the 73rd anniversary of Executive Order 9066, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential order to forcibly relocate and incarcerate 120,000 American citizens and immigrants of Japanese ancestry. February 19th, the day President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, is now annually recognized as the Day of Remembrance in the Asian community.
This year, the Day of Remembrance and the Lunar New Year (a.k.a. Chinese New Year) fall on the same day. This is yet another reminder that, as Leslie Chang writes, “The past has been there all along, reminding us: This time–maybe, hopefully, against all odds, we will get it right.” Yesterday, many of us paid tribute to those who were afforded no due process and were victims of mass incarceration based on race. But these types of discrimination are not mere ghosts of the past, these issues are here and present in our society today.