For many around the city of Austin, Black History Month is a celebration of a rich story that paved the way for a bright future. It's also a time for reflection and in doing so a local church said Austin is still fighting a decades-long, uphill battle.
Inside the doors of the Greater Calvary Bible Church on Austin's east side Bishop Richard Lands is busy at work giving his students not only a music lesson, but a lesson in the importance of history. A lesson that isn't taught only in February.
"A month out of the year or an opportunity to speak to what some of our historical achievements have been is necessary." Lands said, "We believe the history of our people is important all the time."
Bishop Lands has lived in Austin for over 30 years and while he has seen many physical changes, he's seen little change in the treatment of the black community within the city.
"I can't say that a whole lot has changed because every year, we get an event, sometimes two or three." Lands said, "Unfortunately, people are still getting shot."
But the biggest obstacle is division.
"You still have I-35 as the main divide," Lands said. "We are still a divided city."
Lands said it is that divide that has created a decades-long mindset of misunderstanding of what each part of the community represents.
"Not everything on the west side is great and not everything on the east is terrible." Lands said, "It's that division, that physical division and mental division, that still carries on."
But Lands said those walls can be broken with unity and a mutual understanding of where we, as a community, want to go.
"I think what we really need to to is understand what has happened, understand where we are, and agree we can go to the next level together." Lands said, "You know how this part worked with this part and how we leaned on each other to make where we are now happen. And that's why we have television, that's why we have internet, that's why we have what we have today because we were able to build off of each other."