SANDUSKY - Despite racial injustices past and present, Black Americans deserve to belong.
Shanita Brown Aaron, an educator and a local graduate, spoke on the theme "We Belong Here" during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Monday at Sandusky High School hosted by the Sandusky Club for Black Business and Professional Women.
The virtual service is available for demand viewing on the club's YouTube channel.
Segregation, the killings of Emmett Till, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin and others are among the incidents that told Black Americans they didn't belong.
"So the notion that we belong clearly isn't understood by all," Aaron said. "I've wrestled with the question: Why do our liabilities outnumber our possibilities? Why, in 2021, is there such a discord of who belongs here?"
But Black Americans have repeatedly proven they belonged, Aaron said, noting the election of President Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Aaron, in her career, faced similar challenges: While working at a rural school, she was moved to another school that had poor test scores "to set me up to fail," she said. But the school's test scores improved under her leadership.
"It led me to a place where I wanted to do something to help children to know that they are important and they do belong here," Aaron said.
In order for society to move forward, Aaron believes peaceful coexistence and Black history education are among the solutions.
"Let's not make America great again. Let's make it better because we do belong here," Aaron said.
Other speakers and performers included students Mariae Broome, Nyzziah Nuby-Williams, Jailynn Hunter, A'nya Farris, among others.
THIS STORY IS PROVIDED FREE COURTESY OF THE SANDUSKY REGISTER."Black Americans belong here" Sandusky News Register 19 Jan 2021: A1
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