Each February, Black History Month raises awareness about the significant portion of the American story that African Americans have authored. From science and business to literature, the arts and public service, Black History Month highlights the struggles and triumphs of our nation.
Despite the real progress in the march toward equality and opportunity for all, challenges remain. Black Ohioans are paid less, are more likely to be unemployed and have higher rates of infant mortality and incarceration than their white counterparts.1
According to the Ohio Development Services Agency, nearly 33 percent of black Ohioans live in poverty, double the state’s overall rate.2 In addition, black high school students have a lower graduation rate than their peers, at 61 percent compared to the state average of 81 percent.3
Still, the number of black-owned businesses in Ohio is at an all-time high,4 and people across the state are coming together to speak out against systems of injustice and oppression that make it hard for people to find work, access healthcare, get an education and end violence in neighborhoods. By listening to each other and investing in a stronger state, we can come together to address many of the critical issues facing our communities—not only during Black History Month, but every month of the year.
2 The Ohio Poverty Report. Ohio Development Services Agency, Feb 2017.