By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

“The preservation of African American traditions is one way to increase equity in education, social justice, voting right,s as well as, employment. While U.S. history courses often center around European colonizers and white Americans, the Pan African flag encourages a learning and burning around Black culture, which is essential to understanding American history as a whole..,” were the words of Rev. Dr. Willie Perryman, president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, during the raising of the Pan African flag at One Government Center in downtown Toledo. The event took place on Tuesday, February 1; the first day of Black History Month.

Prior to the actual raising of the flag, a few community and elected leaders said brief words on the frigid February morning.

“Toledo works because we’re family,” Wade Kapszukiewicz, mayor of Toledo said. “We feel each other’s pain and we come together when something isn’t right; we’re family and we work together.

Gary Byers, Lucas County Commissioner, said “We raise the flag for this month, but the appreciation and sacrifice of people of color can’t be set aside just once, but today is a start.

Julian Mack, spokesman for Community Solidarity Response Network, CSRN, closed out the ceremony by saying, “Marcus Garvey created the flag in 1920 for connectivity with us to Africa and Carter G. Woodson started Negro Achievement Month, which evenually became Black History Month and it’s important to remeber what we’ve accomplished. It’s also important that we highlight and protect our accomplishments of today.”

The colors of the flag, red, black and green have meaning that represents the struggles of Black people all over the world. The red symbolizes the blood shed during the liberation of Black people. The black represents Black people and their unity with each other and the green represents the rich land of Africa. So when it was time to hoist the flag high on the pole, many of those present rushed to raise the flag, while others held their fist in the air, which represents solidarity of Black people.