Friday, February 15, 2019

Black History and Liberation Month

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2019 at 2:01 PM

click to enlarge A photo of African American rodeo rider Jesse Stahl from "Champions of the Rodeo." - FILE
  • File
  • A photo of African American rodeo rider Jesse Stahl from "Champions of the Rodeo."

This month-long holiday is meant to remember, honor and celebrate the work that has been done and continues to be done by black people across the globe — creative, political and otherwise. At a time when the nation still questions whether the lives of black Americans matter and when their safety (not to mention social and economic status) is still at stake, it’s more important than ever to move in solidarity and unity.

There are several related local events coming up. The local chapter of the NAACP is hosting outings throughout the month, including the annual Charles Washington Soul Food Dinner, a book drive that benefits local elementary, middle and high schools and free family film showings at the Humboldt County Library. Humboldt State University will also be holding a number of events in honor of Black History and Liberation Month. 

In addition to participating in these events, take this opportunity to read about local history. Jim Howard was the longest-serving member of Eureka’s Rotary Club, four-and-a-half term Eureka city councilmember, Old Town revitalizer and centenarian. John Hudson was a Purple Heart Veteran who lived with HIV for 37 years, was a key player in the founding of a local charity and a beloved member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Jesse Stahl and Ty Stokes became rodeo legends and helped break rodeo's color barrier in Fortuna at a time when segregation was still the law of the land. 

There have been several recent efforts to highlight minority experience and racism in Humboldt County, including the NAACP's call for HSU to stop recruiting students of color unless it can support them and a presentation by an Arcata sixth grader about her issues with racism in school at HSU's Campus Dialogue on Race. Also, see photos from the 2019 People's March and Rally for Justice, which was organized by Charmaine Lawson, the mother of the slain HSU student David Josiah Lawson.

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