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NAACP leader reflects back on Black History Month

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BATON ROUGE - "You know this Black History Month, I would say is somewhat bittersweet," Eugene Collins, the president of the Baton Rouge chapter of the NAACP, said.

Now that February is ending, the NAACP president reflected on the month and its purpose.

"The purpose of Black History Month is to bring awareness around the contributions of prominent African Americans," Collins said.

But this month also presented a noticeable problem within the Baton Rouge African American community.

"When we look at the number of young Black men that are in our streets killing each other, it can’t do anything but make you sad at the same time," he said.

Collins called it an identity crisis.

"Our chief talked about it recently. He talked about these young guys basically killing people that look like them. So this Black History Month for me has been a little bit sad because I look out there and I see my young brothers dying at an alarming rate and until we fix that, we’re just chipping away at nothing," he explained.

And in his opinion, the lessons of Black History Month must go beyond the classroom.

"We’re so used to teaching our history during these 28 days that we often don’t teach that pride outside of it when we absolutely have to. You gotta sit down and put this in your children," Collins explained.

Collins believes the key is an early age.

"I mean you have to start young because once they get 17, 18, that’s a little late to start," he said.

Moving forward the NAACP leader says he’s looking forward to Black History Month 2023, but even more, he’s looking forward to celebrating black history year-round.


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