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Honoring Black History Month

As we enter February, the CBE Diversity Council is proud to acknowledge and celebrate one of the most integral parts of the United States’ history. Black History Month serves to remember important people and events that shaped this country, an annual observance that was first proposed by Black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February of 1969. This observance was then formally recognized by the US president in 1976 and has been practiced ever since. Now, in 2023 in the face of continued oppression and structural racism, Black History Month encourages us to take a moment to learn and spread awareness of a several decades old celebration.

We wish to honor the contributions of Black scholars and built environment professionals who have thrived to better our world, despite racism and discrimination. We call out a few initiatives that have inspired us, including:

Nehemiah Initiative – created to empower the African American community by supporting the retention of historically Black institutions by advocating for the development of real property assets owned by historically Black institutions.

Wa Na Wari – a Seattle Central Area-based non-profit organization that creates space for Black ownership, possibility, and belonging through art, historic preservation, and connection.

When I first moved to the United States from the Gambia, West Africa, the prospect of celebrating an entire month dedicated to the celebration of African American history and culture sounded exciting. Black History Month is Important to me because it encourages people to seek and learn the rich history of African Americans and the role they played in building this country. Much of African American History has been left out of American History. In public school, much of my experience was learning about American heroes who were not Black. We were taught limited stories of the American experience which skates over the history of African American efforts that have shaped this Country. I urge every student at the University of Washington to spend each day of this month to learn something new about positive African American contributions that affect our daily lives.

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For those interested in learning more about justice, equity, and inclusion, check out the list below, which represents just some of the vast resources on this subject. Please visit the Library of Congress archives to see various collections of American History.

Please take the time to honor Black History month and participate in the observance in some way!

Celebrate Black History Month with these opportunities and check out the many events around Seattle honoring Black History Month.

Black History Month Events

In solidarity,

CBE Diversity Council