Dr. Richard B. Oni
...Dr. Richard B. Oni
..."It is important to have history in order to know where we are going," said Dr. Richard B. Oni, a health consultant at the U of M and president of the Minnesota Institute for Nigerian Development.
"The Black History Month creates an awareness of what people have gone through before coming to where we are today.
"I think it is important to know that, especially for our new generation that takes things for granted," said Oni
."When the new generation doesn't know what is going on, they think life was like this all the time."
Jambang has another reason why Africans and their neighbors should celebrate Black History Month together: "Because many people were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World from Africa," he
said, "it would be difficult for Africans and African Americans to separate from each other.
"I think it requires some of us to be educated on this," said Oni
, "and again it goes to the conflict between Africans and African Americans.We do know that we have the same root, but we have a different orientation.
"I think a lot of people say that what happened then [in U.S. Black history] happened to African Americans.But what happened then, if it continues, it is going to happen to Africans if we do not join the effort.
"I think what we need to do will require the leaders from both entities to reach out to each other and educate each party that this is a fight for all of us," said Oni
"I did not know I was Black until I came to this country," said Oni
."To me, where we all came from [Africa], there is no issue of Blackness.Everybody is Black, so nobody cares about the color.But, I realized I was Black when I came to this country.
"So I now value Blackness.I now see Blackness in a different light than I used to see it," said Oni
."I think that is what is happening here."
Many people we interviewed told the Spokesman-Recorder that Africans and African Americans should come together in a forum to find ways to understand their different cultural backgrounds.To bridge the gap
and others suggest that Africans and African Americans should organize workshops together to work on issues that are common to both communities.
"We should reach out to our African American brothers and sisters and tell them we are all the same," suggested Jambang."One thing I want to emphasize is [that] if people like Martin Luther King and other civil right activists did not stand up against the injustice, there wouldn't be justice today."He
believes Africans should join their African American brothers and sisters during Black History Month to celebrate "the efforts undertaken by their [African Americans'] great grandparents or grandfathers centuries ago in fighting against injustice in this country."