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Commemorating Black History Month

Commemorating Black History Month

Happy February! This month is filled with joy, love and excitement as we take one step further into the new year and look toward the upcoming spring and summer. February tends to be very well-known for one specific holiday: Valentine’s Day. In honor Saint Valentine himself, Valentine’s Day celebrates love and romance in our lives.

But even more special than one single day is what the entire month of February stands for: Black History Month. Black History Month is a time to remember, celebrate and commemorate the achievements and contributions by African-American men and women throughout U.S. history. When living an altruistic lifestyle, how can we take steps to truly honor Black History Month and those it recognizes? Let’s take a look at the history behind Black History Month and some ideas for how to commemorate it.

Studying Black History Month
The concept of Black History month first originated from historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History). As a young scholar, Woodson noticed the misrepresentation of African Americans in history books, or complete omission of their history altogether.

In 1926, Woodson announced the second week of February would be designated as “Negro History Week.” This week was first chosen because it coincided with the birthdate of Abraham Lincoln on February 12th, and Frederick douglass on February 14th, both of which were already celebrated by many African American communities.

During the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, African Americans began to reclaim pride in their history and cultural identity. By 1976, African Americans had begun to completely embrace their heritage and celebrate other African Americans who had made significant contributions throughout history.

As part of the United States’ bicentennial celebration that year, the month of February was then officially declared as Black History Month in 1976. Other countries soon followed suit, such as the United Kingdom in 1987 and Canada in 1995. Dr. Woodson and his efforts had left an unforgettable mark on history, one we continue to celebrate today through Black History Month.

Commemorating Black History Month
Woodson himself once stated, “If race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” We can help maintain this tradition by taking steps to properly honor Black History Month. This February, take some time to learn more about Black History Month, its origins and some of the individuals it honors, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Langston Hughes.

Learn about celebrated people in the African American community, and share about them with your friends and family. Watch films dedicated to black culture, listen to historically black music, read books and poetry by black authors or try new foods with historically black recipes. Most importantly, learn about some of the issues African Americans might still face in U.S. culture today. Have respectful, open-communication dialogues with individuals who may or may not look like you, and take this month as an opportunity to learn and grow in community.

No matter your race, Black History Month is an important time to celebrate the accomplishments of African American individuals. This February, use this time as a chance to look back and recognize how far the United States has come in racial inequality, and how far we still have to go. The month of February is about more than a romantic dinner and some candy: it’s about fully understanding all of U.S. history, and taking steps toward a better future.

Our Impact in 2017

January 1-December 31
  • CAPSA is a non-profit domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape recovery center serving Cache County and the Bear Lake area.

  • YCC Family Crisis Center is a domestic violence shelter and rape crisis center provide services 24/7 to victims and their children.

  • Utah Legal Services (ULS) is a nonprofit law office incorporated in 1976 committed to making equal justice a reality by providing free legal help in non-criminal cases to low-income Utahns.

  • South Valley Services is a domestic violence service provider in West Jordan, Utah. We provide safe shelter and supportive services to women, men and their children who have been impacted by domestic violence.

  • Today, the YWCA is Utah’s most comprehensive provider of family violence services; our programs include walk-in services and a crisis line, emergency shelter, transitional housing, children’s programs, and a vast array of supportive services.

  • Established in 1990, Seekhaven assists survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault rebuild their lives. Serving Grand County and Southeastern Utah, Seekhaven provides a wide range of essential services including client advocacy, emergency shelter, and transition assistance.

  • Peace House is dedicated to ending family violence and abuse through education, outreach, support services, and safe housing.

  • New Hope Crisis Center has been serving Box Elder County for 30 years. Our mission is to provide all-inclusive, integrated, victim-centered services to stabilize and support individuals, families, and our community.

  • Founded in 1984, The Center for Women and Children in Crisis has been in continuous operation for 33 years. Our mission is to provide a caring, advocating, safe, and educationally based environment for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

  • Our organization advocates for victims of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, and the homeless. Serving people in Sevier, Piute, Millard, Sanpete and Wayne counties of Utah.

  • The DOVE Center is the only area agency providing safe-shelter, crisis intervention, and prevention for clients who have been victimized by violence in their home – whether by a family member or cohabitant – that also serves victims of rape and sexual assault.

  • Founded in 1922, Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake is a non-profit organization that promotes safety, stability and self-sufficiency for low income families and individuals, as well as victims of domestic violence, through effective, efficient legal advocacy and assistance.

  • Canyon Creek Services provides free and confidential services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Iron, Beaver and Garfield Counties.

  • Valley Behavioral Health is a nonprofit network of clinics providing treatment for behavioral conditions, addictions, psychiatric conditions, autism and other chronic health conditions. We treat chronic lifelong conditions as well as temporary conditions triggered by traumatic life events. Our programs are tailored to people of all ages and every social, cultural and economic situation.

  • Preserve the heritage. Enhance the wellbeing. Strengthen the future of the People.

  • Our Mission: To bring hope, justice, and healing to victims of domestic violence murder by providing holistic non-profit legal representation in the civil, probate and family courts.

  • At Amethyst Center for Healing we are dedicated to helping individuals, families, and communities recover from trauma and abuse, so that we may all live peaceful, empowered lives.

© 2018 Utah Domestic Violence Coalition

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