Black History Month sparks conversations about advocacy, BLM


Calen Moore

A protesters holds their signs while marching peacefully down Kansas Ave. The March was done in order to support the Black Lives Matter Movement that was sparked after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012.

ebruary is dedicated to appreciate both the past and present of the black community. Black History month focuses on appreciating all Black historical figures —globally— that have changed history forever.

“A lot of people link black history month with Martin Luther king and Malcolm X, but to me it’s deeper than that,” Jernell Martinez, freshman business major, said. “It’s celebrating my roots from my culture.”

Black History Month can be celebrated in numerous ways, from donating to historically Black colleges and universities to supporting Black creatives whether it be in music, writing, or art, to engaging in conversations about Black history on social media as well as educating yourself more on the subject as well.

According to Martinez, she celebrates this month by informing herself about her ancestors. She educates herself by asking about her great grandmother and the struggles she experienced.  On one occasion Martinez got the opportunity to visit the plantation where her great-grandmother was born.

Jernell Martinez encourages people to support local black owned business such as The Mark of Beauty on Kansas Ave. (Maria Coronado)

“It was a powerful experience,” Martinez said.

In order to help the local black community, the Martinez’s family makes sure to support black-owned businesses. Martinez explained that her mom has a Black-owned business in Liberal called, Mark of Beauty, so she understands the importance of support from the community. 

Another way that Martinez helps support the Black community is by engaging with Black creators’ online content. 

“Even though I’m a broke college student I try to help in the ways that I can.” Martinez said.

This is the back of one of the many signs that were at the several protests that we had here in Liberal. A lot of these signs were handcrafted and painted to show solidarity in the movement.
(Raven Staten)

For example, on TikTok, she watches videos of black creators, and follows Black creators on Instagram to support them through social media. 

Business major Mariana Romero does the same. She and her mother watch the news to stay educated about social and racial issues.

“It’s very important to stay educated on social and racial issues. That way you know what’s going on, you know how to help, and you know how to respond” Romero said. 

Although Romero is Latinx, she thinks it’s important to advocate for equality between all races because of the injustices that different minority groups experience. 

“When you’re a minority you are constantly aware of the injustices committed, both in the past and present, and I feel like no one should have to go through that.” said Romero. 

The two SCCC college students said they have participated in Black Lives Matter events. The BLM movement was originated in July of 2013 as a result of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media. This hashtag was initiated after the news of the acquittal of George Zimmerman who had shot 17 year old Trayvon Martin in February of the previous year.

Protests of police brutality did not appear out of the blue. It resulted from generations-upon-generations of systemic racism, injustice, and inequality.

In an article from Bloomberg CityLab it stated that “What protests have been effective in doing is raising the public consciousness about the level of public violence that communities experience.


They have also exposed the amount of money that has been spent on police forces and weapons, and have helped expose the level of brutality.”

In 2020, protests against police brutality and against inequality happened all over the world for months. The protests began after the death of a black man named George Floyd. His death was filmed and brought to light for millions of people to see.

Martinez had the opportunity to march in the BLM protest over the summer in Liberal. She stated it was a powerful experience to see so many young people join to spread the word.  It was a big contrast to previous years when Martinez lost friends for speaking up.

“The protests were a big eye-opener,” Martinez said. “People were finally realizing the issues black people face on a day-to-day basis.” 

Martinez said regardless of the situation it was a good feeling to see people out there raising awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement and that she loved seeing the younger generation as well as her peers standing up for what is right. 

“I didn’t exactly march because of COVID, but a friend and I made signs and hung them around my truck and drove alongside the crowd,” Romero said.

This is what Mariana Romero, freshman business major did to her truck to support the black community while also staying COVID conscious.
(Mariana Romero)

Romero thought that it was important to show up for the Black community regardless of COVID and social distancing because it showed how serious this movement should be taken even in small communities. 

“I think a big way to spread awareness is just putting yourself out there,” Romero said. “And talking about it as often as you can.”

According to Romero it is important to reach older generations, too, with the message. She suggested educating older family members or friends that saying certain things are rude and inappropriate. Reaching older generations could help stop the hate so it no longer is “passed on throughout generations.”

Martinez on the other hand believes we can do more locally. As a senior at Liberal High School, she was a part of the Black Student Union. In the club, students of different races and ethnicities learned about black history and the struggles of the Black community. She believes the same type of club could be done at the SCCC. 

“I want to work on starting something here at the college just to have a comfortable place where black students can come and open up,” Martinez said. 

“This black history month I hope everyone is able to celebrate their ancestors celebrate all of black history, and anyway you can support, support black people,” Martinez said.