Camas High School American Sign Language teacher Junior Kargo reflected on Black History Month.
He said, “Black History is a time when African Americans/Blacks can take the time out and see what the people before them fought for. Black history is a time of rejoicing, celebrating. And thanking those African Americans/Blacks for giving us hope or a life lesson that could be used. Black history is a time when we can be reminded about what it means to be an African American/Black. Black history isn’t about all the bad times we’ve been through. It’s about integrity, leadership, and determination. It’s about showing your true character.”
Junior added, “Black Lives Matter. Not only is it about protest against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against Black people, it’s also about injustice. We just want justice, equality, and equity.”
He shared a story about how racism has affected his life.
“One time during lunch break, I went to a food cart to order a burrito. A man said they weren’t open till noon and it was 11:30 a.m. I asked if they could make an exception and of course they said no. So as I was about to walk toward a different food cart, I noticed a white customer got his order from that food cart. I was puzzled. I went back and asked if I could order something. They said they were still closed. When I told them I saw they handed the order to a customer, they were silent for a minute with an ‘oh crap we are busted’ look on their faces. I felt disgusted, resentment, and disrespected.”
Junior listed some prominent figures in the Black community that inspire him.
“Harriet Tubman was a slave who overcame a hard struggle to demonstrate courage. She led Black people from slavery to freedom. I am pretty sure that there is no way you can find a better Black leader than that. She risked her life by bravely helping save over 300 slaves via the Underground Railroad. She will forever be known for her bravery and her inspiration to the world.”
“Rosa Parks for her courage, the mother of civil rights movement, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a White male passenger in a public bus, her action inspired civil rights activists to boycott the city’s buses for years.”
“Martin Luther King Jr., not only did he inspire us people around the world with a message of peaceful resistance and racial equality, he also helped people to have the courage to do what they wanted.”
The following quotes from famous Black Americans are some of Junior’s favorites.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” -Maya Angelou
“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.” -Michelle Obama
Junior said, “In this country, I just want people of all races, deaf, disabilities, LGBTQIA, especially Blacks, to be treated with fairness. Without justice, it can make it hard for us to find work, live in peace, marry who we want, and more. I would love to see people of every race live well and have equal opportunities.”