Americans are living in a time when racial tensions seem to be greater than in several decades, with hateful rhetoric filling social media and making news headlines. Individuals and groups feel emboldened to take such stands.
That’s unfortunate, and counterproductive for society.
What the rhetoric demonstrates is the division being created among people, and underscores the need for education and understanding by different races and religions.
Fortunately, such opportunities exist locally.
February is Black History Month, and celebrations in Columbus are providing opportunities for people to learn more about African-Americans.
One event is the showing of the documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” at 6 p.m. Monday at YES Cinema, 328 Jackson St. The film is about novelist James Baldwin and his unfinished book about civil rights leaders Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers. It’s followed by a panel discussion at 7:30 p.m.
Another discussion about the documentary is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, 7850 W. Goeller Blvd.
Cummins Inc.’s African and African American Affinity Group is leading a lunch-and-learn panel discussion from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Cummins Corporate Office Building, 500 Jackson St. Panelists will share experiences and perspectives as minorities in the military.
The 17th annual Gospel Musical is 4 p.m. Feb. 25 at Faith Hope and Love Church of God in Christ, 11401 State Road 7, Elizabethtown. The purpose is to tell black history through songs, and build fellowship and unity among churches and their members.
People have better perspective and make better decisions the more educated and informed they are about subjects and issues. That includes how they look at people of different races, ethnicities and religions.
Events focused on interaction, learning and understanding go a long way toward bridging divides.
The upcoming Black History Month events offer participants a chance to learn a little more and gain additional perspective. They’re worth attending by anyone in the community.