Recognizing the important contributions of African Americans, the Olympia City Council honored February 2024 as Black History Month.
Council members took part in reading the proclamation on Tuesday, February 6, highlighting the sacrifices, achievements, and ongoing struggle of Black Americans throughout U.S. history.
The proclamation mentioned local figures like Rebecca Howard, a 19th-century entrepreneur who owned the Pacific House in downtown Olympia. It also acknowledged African Americans' role in shaping the Pacific Northwest region.
The proclamation also acknowledges the systemic racism perpetuated by individuals and the nation's government through slavery, segregation, mass incarceration, police brutality, and economic disparity.
"The observance of Black History Month demands our attention to the continued need to dismantle racism and build a community that lives up to its democratic ideals," stated the proclamation.
In celebrating Black History Month, Olympia will partner with the Hawk Foundation for Research and Education in African Culture to host a public event.
Javoan Byrd, the founder of Hawk Foundation, accepted the proclamation. He said the foundation's mission is "to combat [the repression of African culture and history] and to share history and culture."
Byrd announced that on February 15 at 5:30 pm, the Hawk Foundation will celebrate African American History at South Puget Sound Community College. He said there would be presentations from the Buffalo Soldiers reenactment group, multiple lectures, and live music for attendees to enjoy.
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