In the midst of political chatter influenced by bigotry, sexism, and privilege, we're kicking off 2017's Black History Month. And this year, it's even more important to remember and celebrate the thousands of African Americans that moved and shook the policies that made institutions exclusive to people of color.

Last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to place a Muslim ban which prohibits persons of Muslims faith from seven countries to enter the United States. Que the hatred, que the protests. Our country has had the chair pulled from underneath her. She may soon be on her head. It's literally been less than two weeks since the new administration took office. One can wonder, does he even believe in honoring our black American heroes? I mean, that would mean thanking and giving credit to someone other than himself or people unlike him.

Instead of fueling the fire with aggressive tweets and protests, I propose we give energy to remembering the black individuals who stood up to bullies like Trump in the face of adversity, when civil rights were granted to only a portion of American citizens. We cannot allow one administration to turn back the hands of time. To undo the great progress that has been made at the expense of so many lives. Black lives. They do matter.

Our Vice President, Mike Pence took to Twitter, that good 'ol social media platform which functions more like cesspool for politicians and people who are openly racist, giving a shout out to Abraham Lincoln for signing the 13th Amendment ending slavery. This was Pence's Black History Month tweet. Hopefully, the last. At least until he can get a better understanding of the American tradition and why we celebrate it. Black History Month is not about the end of slavery itself. Yes, Lincoln did officially end slavery. However, the white president who, by the way, flip-flopped on emancipating slaves actually did not believe the negro was equal to whites. That is what subsequent black generations had to fight to get. Equality. And arguably blacks are still fighting to get that.

Black History Month is more than 100 years old. It is not some new eclectic trend. The histories of black Americans have been downplayed or even ignored throughout mainstream American history. Now we have the ability to share and spread knowledge and inspiration right at our finger tips. History is being made daily. Let's be sure to never allow any of it to be overshadowed or pushed to the side. We are still here.