As we continue to celebrate and honor Black History Month, we invited 2021 Tillman Scholar Russell Ledet to take the mic and share his thoughts on what celebrating Black history means to him. His message was simple: Black history is not contained to one month and celebrating Black history and culture can and should be celebrated year round.
With this sentiment, we asked Russell for some advice on how we can honor Black history throughout the year.
“Living Black history” is how Russell celebrates his culture everyday, from the work he is doing as part of the 15 White Coats to raising his children to understand and love their culture.
When we asked Russell to share any other insights on Black History Month, he opted to share this video.
Russell provides us with some closing thoughts and homework on how we can all be a part of honoring Black history, by being a part of cultivating a better future:
“My first piece of advice is that it is incredibly important is to do individual work. We are looking for a quick and easy way to become a part of the solution, but in order to truly be a part of the solution, you have to go to an uncomfortable place that you often avoid.
“Black people know who is with them, and who is not. We know, because we find ourselves in harm’s way much too often, and there are only a handful of majority folks who come to our bat and become allies. Most see it and simply turn the other cheek. You have been taught all of your life that you, as a white American male, are better than any other race of people on this planet, whether you know that or not. That’s what systemic racism is. It’s the idea that if, psychologically, a group of people position themselves as better than, then they will act accordingly. That is what we are witnessing every day.
“Now for the homework:
“1. Watch the video brown eye blue eye, Jane Elliott
2. Read Medical Apartheid
3. ACT when you see things are not right. That’s how you help affect change. Make sure people can count on you as an ally, that you are not complicit with what this world is doing to fellow Americans.
4. Let’s get those 15 White Coat posters into those classrooms that you are connected with, because if white kids see that people who don’t look like them can become physicians just like them, we will be waging war against the aforementioned structural racism that is still in place. In that same vein, the minority children will be able to envision a world that they have every right to imagine and dream to be. Learn more at www.the15whitecoats.org.”