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What Black History Month means to me

Staff Sgt. Jon-Moses A. Robinson, a radio frequency transmission systems craftsman with the 271st Combat Communications Squadron, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, poses for a portrait

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jon-Moses A. Robinson, a radio frequency transmission systems craftsman with the 271st Combat Communications Squadron, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, poses for a portrait Feb. 8, 2020, in Annville, Pennsylvania. As part of Black History Month, Robinson discussed what the observance means to him and his personal experience coming from a bi-racial family with an Irish-American father, and a Black/Native American mother. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Harp)

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. --

The iconic Rosa Parks was born in February (Feb. 4, 1913), and I recently found myself reading her autobiography. The lives she touched and influence she was able to produce in people is profoundly amazing, and the fact that she lived until 2005 is still crazy to me. She walked with Dr. King during the march from Selma to Montgomery in protest of segregation, she spoke at length with Malcolm X after his conversion to Islam and she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She adamantly believed that non-violence was an effective measure to protesting but also believed that there must come a point where you stand up for yourself.

I find myself lucky that I am bi-racial with an Irish-American father, and a Black/Native American mother. I have grown up seeing both sides of racism, not only how it affects me but my parents as well. My father was disowned from his family for choosing to marry my mother, and I have seen members of my mother's side of the family chastise him only because of his skin color. Day in and day out, my father has been by my mother's side, and my mother has backed my father since day one. And to know that I have two parents who believe that your skin color has no bearing on you as a person is empowering beyond belief. 

So to me, Black History Month isn't just a celebration of the ways we have overcome or just a time to remember all the atrocities done to us, and it most assuredly isn't a time to forget. It's that extra bit of time to show that we can ALL fight against hate and bigotry. That we ALL can help out those less fortunate. That we ALL can treat each other with love, respect and admiration. So not just this month, but every second I breathe, I stand up for those who past, present and future haven't had their voice spoken, and fight for their equality.

That is what Black History Month means to me.