The Blue and Gold Celebrates Black History Month

Juliana Luong also contributed to this article.

The history behind the ancestry line of Black people is not a pretty picture; it is a dark, gory illustration of how racist human beings mistreat others simply based on the color of their skin. It was a battle of skin colors where more fair and white-skinned people benefited from Black people’s labor and inhumane living conditions. Due to the skin color of African Americans, many were ignored for the great works that they participated in, which remains uncredited. Henceforth, the United States recognizes the month of February as “Black History Month”  in hopes of recognizing and appreciating the contributions and efforts of fellow African Americans.

Although we have come a long way in terms of treating people equally despite our differences, there are still moments where history is being repeated in our present-day world. Therefore, The Blue and Gold would like to recognize some leaders and talents of many more that have made a change, both locally and globally. 

Karina Martinez

Photo of Karina Martinez. JULIANA LUONG

Karina Martinez, a part-time Boston University student, is currently achieving her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Outside of Malden High School Martinez has worked on policy briefs that she said contributes to making “all public universities test-optional, eliminating legacy preferences in college admissions, and expanding tuition-free community college.” She was hired as one of many Malden High School’s College and Career Counselors. She helps students plan their futures after graduating high school and makes it clear that she “never wants to push anyone to college or make them feel as though it is their only option.” Martinez understands the pressures of being a student and a person of color trying to live up to others’ expectations while figuring out their future. She discusses various situations where schools don’t have a diverse community, schools’ diverse statistics, and racial events. Her work at Malden High School has swayed the research that she conducts on the college access process and reaching that goal. 

Martinez expressed her hope for students to feel proud of their achievements and culture’s achievements during Black History Month. She feels that Blackness deserves more than just a month of honoring Black history but “a reminder of the impact that the Black community has had, and continues to have, on our society today.” She also wants to continue to do her part by “supporting our students and preparing them for the world beyond high school in any way that [she] can.”

“I want to empower students to make the best choice for themselves, so my main goal is to help them harness the strength and confidence to do so.”


Krishany Marius

Krishany Marius submitted photo.

Krishany Marius is a Malden High School senior and captain of the AOS Step Team. Marius has been a part of the Malden High School Step Team since her freshman year. As Captain, she expressed her main goal is “to create a space where Black girls don’t feel like they are outcast, [where] they feel wanted, and they feel like they deserve to be in a place that they feel safe.” She further explained how she had experienced what it felt like to feel disassociated and left out. 

Marius aims to graduate on a good note and “be able to know that I left with something rather than nothing.” She also expressed her excitement and happiness towards Black History Month and stated that she wished it could be longer because February is the shortest month in the year. Marius said, “It’s a month to celebrate; it’s a month to appreciate Black history and Black culture and the years that it’s overcome. I just feel so special in that month and so beautiful.” 

She further mentioned the fun that social media has made the month by seeing edits of Black people and Black culture trending on TikTok. Marius also stated that when thinking about Black History Month and celebrating it, the song “Almeda” by Solange came to mind. 

During school, history teachers taught many lessons of Black culture and Black people that achieved so much. Marius adds, “Like every Black person says, Black History Month is every month if we’re being honest, so it’s never really ending but this month is prominent in that it’s so beautiful and my take on it is that I just feel like this is so fun and I don’t think I would have it any other away.” It makes her feel grateful to be the Step Team Captain to Black girls that are on the team.

 “It’s not just making sure everyone is in formation; it’s also being able to understand another Black girl’s position and opinions on things.”

– krishany marius

Leisha Fortunat

“I was raised with the mindset that you can always do more, that you can always do better,” said Leisha Fortunat, Co-President of the Haitian Club, and that is exactly what the Haitian Club did last year as well.

The club had fundraisers for many organizations and believes that the connection with people living in Haiti and in the US is important. Along with the already outstanding achievements, the club also aims to keep a focus on senior centers, local businesses, promote mental health importance, and resources for education and finding a career. Fortunat said, “You never know when you reach out to communities with resources that you have, how big of a difference it’s going to make in their lives.”

Aside from the Haitian Club, Fortunat is continuing to build her Instagram blog by transforming a website that is still in the works but, will anticipate into a brand. She posts every month or every other month.

Fortunat, like many others, loves Black History Month and celebrating it. She also thinks that the amount of days it is celebrated is too short. However, the different events hosted for the month are something that she loves. Fortunat mentions Malden City Hall’s celebration, a familiar church, and an organization located in Everett that hosted events and how she loved learning of others’ stories told first-hand or second-hand. 

“We get to hear, we get to see the type of cultural dances, culture is something that I just enjoy overall” Fortunat described her experience. 

While the celebration is appreciated there is also a deeper understanding of the stories of Black people being owned at one point and Fortunat said “It’s important to have a reality check in your life at any given moment.” Altogether she cherishes the efforts organizations had made to educate people about Black history. She followed with “It’s important to learn about people’s histories because one, everyone matters and two, history is important.”

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris, does that name ring a bell to you? Well, she should because she has made a grand name for herself for being the first Black woman to become vice president of the United States of America. She currently works alongside important officials and figureheads such as President Biden and other politicians. Everybody that has turned big had to start off somewhere though. When Harris was nothing but a little baby she was always learning new things, especially with two parents that were activists themselves so they played a huge role in where she is now. 

Harris will not be the last Black person to do anything in the political world. Her actions have shown us that anything is truly possible. This representation is just what we need more of which empowers and strengthens young Black girls and Black boys and people of color that dare to dream big. Harris is not just another politician, she is not just another statistic or a dot in the big great plane of things. She is so much bigger than that. She is a promise that the future can be brighter and nothing is too out of reach.

“My mother would look at me and she’d say, ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.’”

– kamala harris

Dr. Kizzimekia Corbett

Another Black woman that deserves our attention is Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett. When Covid suddenly struck the world down we were in a state of chaos and turmoil and when things seemed like it would never go back to normal she swooped in and came up with the Covid 19 Vaccine along with her research team. They used evidence from viral sequence data. At the time when the pandemic started to first emerge she was still fighting for her equality and her spot as a future scientist as a Black woman. 

The minute that this vaccine landed inside the hospital cabinets it sent a wave of excitement because it meant that people could return back to their lives instead of being locked inside their homes, barred off from the human population. With this new vaccine now in reach it means that there can be fewer deaths affiliated with Covid as well as strengthening our immune systems from this alien-like virus.

Chadwick Boseman

Another person that deserves our recognition is Chadwick Boseman. He starred in a revolutionary film called Black Panther that was loved and adored by so many people, especially people of color. The minute that this film hit the industry the movie theaters were teaming up with people that felt close and aligned all because of one singular movie that brought so many cultures together. Seeing representation on the tv or any screen is important for young as well as older people because so many times we witness people of darker skin tones in roles that aren’t as heroic but instead very depressing and even villainous. 

Many fans would agree that Black Panther was a masterpiece of a movie that was intricate and complex in the best of ways that grasped your attention every time. Unfortunately, Black Panther, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, were some of Chadwick Boseman’s last works and there was no doubt that he was on an uphill path to success before he sadly passed away. This was not only hard to stomach for his close friends and personal relatives but for the true die-hard fans and appreciators of these amazing films across the world. His essence and legacy will continue to live on through his movies and shows.

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