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Des Moines leaders reflect on Black History Month in 2021

Local leaders discuss Black History Month following a historic 2020.

DES MOINES, Iowa — February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans. 

"Maybe more eyes are on this Black History Month than years past, but I don't think the significance is any less or any more," said Billy Weathers, a local musician and founder of B. Well Foundation, which supports Des Moines students. 

Weathers said while Black history is very important to learn, it shouldn't just happen in one month. 

"I think it's important to share information and to use platforms, such as this, to uplift black voices and make sure that people are heard," Weathers said. 

Reverend Rob Johnson, Board President of the New Frontier Action Fund, feels the past year was historic and hopes Iowans continue the effort and have an open dialogue.

"People have really embraced the idea of understanding black culture," said Johnson. "Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, these men and women have continued to fight and continue to push the envelope. And sometimes it was uncomfortable. And so to me, this Black History Month is about just that."

Jalesha Johnson, a Des Moines BLM activist, says people need to be intentional with their actions every day.

"We very much as Americans have like that Main Character syndrome," said Johnson.  "We think when we enter into something that's as long as it's existed, but I think that like, there have been marginalized peoples and most especially black peoples having these conversations"