Monique’s March

     February marks the start of an important time for African Americans all over the country. Black History Month is a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. This event originated from the “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other influential African Americans.

     Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated the month of February as Black History Month. However, America is not alone in recognizing the historical contributions of those of African descent. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating the history of their citizens of African ethnicity.  Sophomore Monique Vaz feels strongly about this particular time of year. “I am beyond proud of who I am and where I come from,” Vaz said. “This country was built on the backs of hardworking men and women, and I am proud to say that African Americans played a big role in that.”

    On top of being a person of color, Vaz is a frequent participant in the women’s rights movement. She attended the Women’s March on D.C. after Inauguration Day and is an active supporter of Planned Parenthood, a clinic which provides important health services to women. “I have always been bothered by people who feel they should have a say in what a woman does with her body,” Vaz said, “so, I always try to fight for those who are attacked by others who do not share common views. One of the most recent examples of how I voiced my opinions was when I attended the Women’s March on Washington.”

    Along with 470,000 other people who attended the March on Washington just in the district, Vaz came with a message to show that skin color or gender do not define who a person is. This is the message that Vaz and thousands more try to express through peaceful protests such as the March on Washington. “It is understandable that not everyone agrees with our views, that was never expected,” said Vaz. “However, this is a huge issue that has been present for many years and needs to have a light shone on it. Not only that, but it feels wonderful to be a part of something that is bigger than myself.”