Several years ago, a popular fast food chain launched a marketing campaign for Black History Month titled “365 Black.” The theme of the campaign was to celebrate African-American history and culture all year, and not just in February. Their preferences for burgers and fries aside, this theme struck a chord with many African Americans, and continues to do so. (And the fast food chain has taken full advantage of that. But that’s a discussion for another day.)
Why does “365 Black” resonate so deeply with many Black people (including yours truly)? It resonates because it speaks to the reality that Blackness is not something that can be acknowledged and celebrated for 28 (or 29) days in February, and then safely tucked out of sight and out of mind until the next year.
I am Black 365 days a year, 24/7, and all of the implications of what that means in these “yet-to-be United States” play out 365 days a year, 24/7. Racism does not take a holiday — even during Black History Month.
Systemic and institutional oppression and injustice are always on the job. The toxic microaggressions that come with being African American, or a person of color, rarely fail to continue their constant “drip, drip, drip” into the individual and collective psyches of my people.
And so, the reminder to celebrate our survival, honor our personhood and achievements, embrace our culture(s), create safe emotional spaces for ourselves, and continue the fight for freedom and equality — along with our allies — must also be seen as more than a month-long effort. The pursuit of justice must continue…365.
Wishing you joy and strength for the journey,