Excuse me, are you listening? 14-2
Sunday, February 8, 2015

 Dear Readers,

A lot of celebrations and acknowledgements going on during the short month of February.  It is Black History Month. It is TNCP’s anniversary month. It is also a month of heart wellness and love.
Black History Month grew out of Carter G. Woodson’s “Negro History Week” which was started in 1926.  The week coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.  Woodson said that having a week of education was essential to providing a foundation for young black Americans and needed  in order for them to become productive citizens.
I wished Woodson was teaching me history when I was a child.  The only contributions in my social studies book were pictures of slaves packed tightly in the bottom of a ship.  I recall trying to ask my teacher about why we did not learn about other contributions to history.  I distinctly remember him telling me that slavery was a part of history and that is how I got to this country.  Getting through sixth grade was a chore.  That year changed my life as I realized that not all students were treated the same as well.  I questioned too much and my teacher would question me back.  The only difference was that he would pick me to answer questions that he knew I did not have an answer for.  
I learned a lot in sixth grade about people in general.  I learned that if I wanted to learn a different perspective to read and read more than one book on the same subject.  I was always reading even if I did not agree with the content. I appreciate all of those who came before me in the whole African diaspora.  I loved Roberto Clemente.   Afro-Caribbean history is equally interesting.  Pedro Alonso Nino was a Spanish explorer of African descent in 1492. He traveled with Christopher Columbus.  
Since it is also the month of love, try and do something awesome.  Possibly share an act of kindness with an elderly or sick neighbor.  Shovel the walkway of someone who has recently had a child.  
I recently had a harrowing experience with the Lansing Police Department on Sunday, February 1.  A case of mistaken identity for them.  Probably months of anxiety for me.  I will elaborate, as soon as I heal. It is also American Heart Month and I am happy mine is still beating. Happy Valentine’s Day!  
Love people,
Rina Risper
This was printed in the February 8, 2015 - February 21, 2015 edition.

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