Celebrating Black History Month
Posted by Jennifer Haberman in Blog / Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on February 1, 2023
Please join Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound in celebrating Black History Month throughout the month of February.
Black History Month, founded in 1976, is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Black History Month has its origins in 1915, when historian and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound’s mission is centered around the concept that each individual can have an indelible impact in the lives of others. So this month, we will be recognizing the Black community members who have made and are making history right here in our own region and in our organization. Within the Big Brothers Big Sisters network, we are incredibly honored to witness and experience the leadership of Artis Stevens, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s first African-American president in it’s 100 year history.
The Puget Sound region’s history is full of stories of Black leadership.
Black community members have accomplished huge firsts – like Representative Marjorie Pitter-King, the first Black woman to serve in our state’s legislature in 1965. Like Rosa Gourdine Franklin, the first Black woman to serve as a Washington State senator. Firsts like Harold Gene Moss and Norman Blann Rice, Tacoma and Seattle’s first African-American mayors.
But you don’t have to be first to make history. We’re also celebrating figures like William Grose, famous Seattle business owner and entrepreneur. Like Ernestine Anderson, a jazz and blues singer with a decades-long career. Like Jimi Hendrix, who needs no introduction and whose music is known throughout the world.
You also don’t have to be famous to make history. Some local activists who’ve made huge changes to our community were recently featured in an article in Crosscut: “Flo Ware, an advocate for foster kids who organized the local Meals on Wheels program and hosted a radio talk show. Freddie Mae Hurd Gautier, political counselor to Jesse Jackson, community voting organizer and the reason why Seattle has a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. E. June Smith, an NAACP chapter president and activist who relentlessly fought for the desegregation of Seattle schools.”
This month, and every month, we are proud to honor and celebrate the significant contributions of Black people to our organization and our community – as mentors, as family members, as community leaders, and in everything from art to activism, music, sports, and politics.
There are many ways you can join us in celebrating Black History Month.
First and foremost is by recognizing the contributions of Black people in your own life – your family and friends, colleagues in your workplace, and members of your community. Another great way is to visit the Northwest African American Museum to learn more about Black history. NAAM is hosting events throughout the month of February that we encourage Bigs, Littles, and families to attend, including:
- Black History Month Movie Night, Feb 4, 6PM – Showing The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks
- February Interactive Storytime: “Jake Makes a World”, Feb 12, 1PM
- Black History Month Keynote Program, Feb 16, 6PM
Or, participate in other events celebrating Black History Month throughout the Puget Sound, including:
- Family Storytime: Black History Month Tacoma Public Library, Feb 3, 10:30AM
- Celebrate Black Scientists and Inventors Tacoma Public Library, Feb 7, ALL Day
- Racial Equity and Social Justice Panel Discussion Tacoma Public Library, Feb 8, 5PM
- Black History Month Vendor Market, The Outlet Collection, Feb 18, 11AM-6PM
- African American Family History: A Proud Heritage, Feb 25, 9AM-2PM
We encourage you to attend these events and share them with friends, family and your own community to support building awareness of Black History.
While changing the world can feel like a distant and monumental task, it truly isn’t. People right here in our community are making history and changing the world every day. And, reader, so are you. When you give a mentee, friend, or colleague your time, support, and a listening ear, you change their world for the better. Each of us makes history, in ways big and little.
Take action and make history today.