February 13th is the birth date of my deceased great grandmother. She was born in 1900, so it is easy to track what her age would have been had she lived. In 2014 she would have been 114. I recently learned something else about February 13th, while watching the Roland Martin show.
Martins guest on the February 13th episode, was Ayo Handy Kendi. She is the founder of black love day which is February 13th. It began in 1993, and is is the 3rd nationally, commemorated African American holiday. BLD is a 24 hour demonstration of Black love, showing 5 Tenets (specific acts). They are:
1. love towards the Creator,
2. love for Self,
3. love for Family,
4. love within the Black Community
5. love for the Black Race.
BLD, is also a day where whites are expected to show “love in action” to blacks, and atonement for their racial attitudes and behavior. Ayo Handy Kendi, is the founder/director of the African American Holiday Association.
Black love day is a time for blacks to reflect on loving each other and stop black on black crimes. On February 13th, African Descents in American are to show love for 24 hours. They are encouraged to make purchases from black merchants.
The date of February 13th, was chosen to over shadow the commercialism of Valentine’s Day. Although this is the first time I have heard of this observance, r it has been included in the Smithsonian multicultural calendar. And observations do take place across the nation.
While I understand the sentiment, I often think of multiracial Americans, whose ancestors were both slave and master. How are they expected to choose sides? How can they both celebrate black love, and atone for perceived white offenses?
Treating people right should not be designated to just one day, it should be a lifestyle. Still, I commend Ms. Kendi, for at least having a day set aside to expound upon these unresolved issues. because of the ever changing dynamic of race in American, I do not see this as a day that will go mainstream or be embraced by the masses.
African Americans are many generations removed from slavery, and and descendants who came on the slave ships. Most black people I know simply desire to be Americans period. I have never been one to take part in African events. I personally find it difficult to celebrate a culture that I never knew.