Black history is more than a month. It is the marking of the first holiday and the beginning of a tradition with the African American community. Events like President Obama’s birthday should be marked as a day of accomplishment.

Black people are believers. As believers we pray that our sons are released from their imposed prisons. They are in prisons of the mind, of materialism and prisons of shame, because of who they are and how their history is reflected. This collective of black people includes pastors and rappers who enthuse and educate the leaders of the future.

This day marks the birthday of Malcolm X and Russell Simmons, it marks the day of preachers and of all African American leaders and progressive thinkers. It will mark the day of political prisoners and those who have paid the tax. It will be a day of atonement for educators and those who are part of the movements like John Lewis. Entertainers like Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder who see the injustice in society and Ray Charles who donate to educational institutions like Morehouse College.

Leaders contribute to the development of future leaders. Happy birthday President Obama, but also happy birthday to the annual calendar of African American accomplishments that will change the ideas that have been perpetuated. Those negative portrayals are not our only reality.

We will commemorate the lives of Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till and James Bird and all those who have died violently and without just cause.

On President Obama’s birthday, we mark a day for all those who fought and died and those who continue to fight for the collective whole.