February was established as Black history month in 1976. Prior to that in 1926, Carter G. Woodson, the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALF) started Negro History Week. His intent was to bring the history and culture of African Americans into public education. February was chosen because it was a time of year that African Americans already commemorated Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass for their leadership in ending slavery.
Each year a theme is chosen for Black History Month. This year, 2023, the Theme is Black Resistance. This is a time for us to remember those who have fought for equal rights for African Americans. As result of resistance slavery was abolished, separate but equal was dismantled, and voting rights were granted. Equality in sports, the military, education, and the work force have improved. However, as we are aware there is still much work to be done.
Resistance is still needed. Here are ways we can help with the resistance. Encourage the senate to pass John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, so we all have an equal voice in decision making. Call for the passing of the Breathe Act, so all of us can live in safety. Find ways to help Close the Racial Wealth Gap. Educate yourself, join Justice Organizations and put your UU values to work.
Be curious, read books, listen to podcasts, watch movies, and do a little research. Here are some places to find more information. Visit the website for Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Peruse the American Social History Project and check out the Black Lives Matter website. And to join other Unitarian Universalists see what is happening at Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice. These are just a few of the websites devoted to the movement to provide justice and equity for the African Americans in our society.
And if you are interested in learning about the contributions of local African Americans in building our vibrant Coachella Valley visit the Palm Springs Black History Committee website. There you can find information about local Black History Month events.
Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Ministry Recent Posts
The Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Ministry (DIBM) plans to write posts routinely this year to provide background and updates on work going on in our community to advance multiculturalism and anti-racism. We hope that these communications will not only provide information but also engage your thinking and our collective discussion about living into our beloved community. This is the first of these posts that will appear approximately bi-monthly and is intended to provide an overview of the DIBM. We invite you to join us in this important work.
The Diversity Inclusion and Belonging Ministry (DIBM) wishes to bring to our UUCOD community’s attention a series of excellent programs now available on PBS. They address in deep and powerful ways the experiences, both horrific and hopeful, of Jewish, Hispanic and Black people at different points in our history. DIBM strongly encourages you to explore these enlightening, challenging, at times disturbing but ultimately essential viewing opportunities.
While Juneteenth has now been made a federal holiday, and should be celebrated by all, it is important to understand what the enslaved African-Americans of Galveston, Texas were told on that day.
On June 19, 1865, Union troops under the command of General Gordon Granger entered Galveston. The general proclaimed to the people assembled his General Order #3. Its first provision told those who had been enslaved that the Civil War was now over and that pursuant to the Emancipation Proclamation, they and others enslaved in the states in rebellion (the Confederacy) were no longer enslaved but were free.
UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray responds with moral outrage to recent anti-trans legislation in Alabama and offers unequivocal support to all trans and non-binary people:
I am morally outraged by the passage of SB 184 in Alabama, a bill that will criminalize—and make it a felony—to provide gender affirming medical care for trans youth in that state. As Unitarian Universalists, we deeply believe that diversity of sexuality and gender is a gift. We unequivocally uplift and support all the trans and non-binary people in our lives, our congregations, and communities, and we closely hold trans children and their families in care.
Many of our UUCOD LGBTQ members and allies were appalled at the passage of Florida HB 1557 known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. They are deeply concerned for the threat the bill poses to the health and welfare of LGBTQ youth throughout the country. At a time when youth may be struggling with new undefined emotions; when they may begin to sense that there could be something different within their soul; they have no safe place share their feelings with an adult. The following words by an anonymous author describe the unsafe world of LGBTQ youth.
Each February, National Black History Month serves as both a celebration and a powerful reminder that Black history is American history