This month, celebrate black trailblazers

From Martin Luther King Jr. to Michael Jackson, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and many more, African-Americans have made major advancements throughout the world.

by Karlene Sanchez, Contributor

In honor of Black History Month, we must not only honor and celebrate historic events that took place in the U.S., but, we must also take into consideration certain individuals who have helped, and continue to help to advance society today.

African-Americans have advanced many aspects of society.

For example, through music, talk shows, politics, activism, trends and styles — African-Americans have become trailblazers.

From Martin Luther King Jr. to Michael Jackson, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and many more, African-Americans have made major advancements throughout the world.

The contributions they’ve made had a huge impact on individuals of all colors, races and sexualities.

Let’s begin with Martin Luther King Jr.’s contribution to our world today.

This man was an activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement because he had a dream for equal treatment for all Americans.

Martin Luther King Jr. became a voice for the voiceless.

Talk about advancement.

Now onto Michael Jackson, from the zipper-bedecked leather and military jackets to the fedora, and the white sparkly gloves.

The king of pop not only raised people off their chairs to sing and dance, but he was also a fashion icon who continues to inspire celebrities and people of today through his ’80s and ’90s style.

Barack Obama, our most honored politician.

Obama served as the forty-fourth and first African American president of the United States, rescued the country from the Great Recession, and provided health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans by signing the Affordable Care Act.

One of the most important aspects to consider from the Affordable Care Act is the expansion it created towards health coverage for low-income families through the Medicaid program. Before the ACA, many states did not offer health coverage to adults without dependents.

Additionally, Obama supported the LGBTQ community’s fight for same-sex marriage, boosted efficiency standards for cars and improved school nutrition with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

In 2009, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Obama greatly contributed to the advancement of our country in many of his ways, but these are a few important ones’s to consider.

Talk show host, television producer, actress and a woman with a great amount of influence in people’s lives through sharing topics of challenges and overcoming obstacles she faced in moments of hardship.

Oprah Winfrey has made it clear that failure is only a few steps away from success and that one must always strive to reach their fullest and highest potential.

Michelle Obama, lawyer, community activist, social rights advocate and the first African-American first lady, has been an educator to individuals all around the world and has encouraged and inspired students to seek higher education and change the world.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “our lives begin to end the day that we become silent about the things that matter.”

There are a variety of ways you can contribute to speaking up, making a difference and contributing to our advancement.

You can join or create a club, post on social media, share articles with your friends, peers and families.

You can create a blog, a podcast, or you can join your on-campus newspapers op-ed section and mention these issues.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., and to the many African-American individuals that have courageously contributed to advancing our world through their greatest innovations, I encourage you to think about all of the topics and issues of importance to you and analyze the steps you are taking in making your voices heard to make a difference in your schools and communities.

Karlene Sanchez is a junior studying public relations and health science.