(WBNG) - February is Black History Month and each week 12 News will bring you a story about people from our community who have and continue to make a difference.
This week we spoke with Brenda Brown who has been a curator of an annual Black History Month event in the Southern Tier for decades.
"It gives me a sense of celebration, a sense of understanding. When I was a child I wasn't included in history, in American history. Now that I'm a senior and for the last 40 years I've done everything that I can to discover history, black history, and to share it with the community and it's a good feeling," said Brown.
For years she has organized an event with the goal of opening the door for still much needed conversations.
"I thought we had conquered a lot, but it's still here today and that's really sad that you have to fight for inclusion, you have to prepare your children for rejection."
The theme of this years event, COVID-19 and the Black Community. She said the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on minority communities is a heart breaking reality with deep roots.
To join the zoom event that will take place on Saturday Feb 13th, click here.
"It's so easy to talk about institutional racism, but the systematic racism, that's the hardest thing to deal with, that's what people hold on to."
Through the years of organizing the event she said she has learned a lot.
"It's taught me that you have to be willing to take risks, you have to be willing to say I'm going to get to know you."
And it's those small steps like getting to know your neighbor where she believes change can blossom.
"We want you to know what some of the issues are that we're identifying and that we are struggling with. So I want you to take the time and I want you to understand the energy that we put into doing this every year and hopefully its bringing us all closer together."
"We were not a part of history, but today we're going to make history."