Celebrating Black History Month and Working to Bring Awareness to Eliminating Racism
Did you know that the early days of Black History Month go back more than 90 years in history? In 1926, the second week of February was designated to celebrate the lives and contributions of African Americans and coinciding with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. While the event has changed over the years, its recognition is part of bigger efforts to eliminate racism.
In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the United States began celebrating the week with proclamations, and by the 1960s the week had been extended to celebrate an entire Black History Month. President Gerald Ford formally recognized the celebration in 1976, encouraging Americans to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of Black Americans.
Each year since 1976, the president has designated the month of February as Black History Month and announced the endorsement of a specific theme. In 2019, Black History Month has a special focus on “Black Migrations,” a theme that tracks the movements of black Americans from the South to the industrial regions of the North and beyond.
From the early 20th century, black businessmen and entrepreneurs began making an important impact on the business world. Musicians introduced entirely new genres like jazz, blues and ragtime and the Harlem Renaissance showcased the black influence on visual and literary arts.
YWCA St. Joseph celebrates Black History Month, but it also works to eliminate racism throughout the year with programs designed to help women and children overcome adversity. The Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children provides for immediate needs for families that need a fresh start, while also empowering them with services for ongoing empowerment. From court advocacy to individual counseling and life skills training, families are equipped for a brighter future.
Another YWCA St. Joseph program, “Stand Against Racism,” will be observed on April 25. This is a nationwide annual YWCA-USA event with more than 225 YWCA associations and 600 other organizations in the United States participating. In September, our YWCA St. Joseph will host their 23rd annual “Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism” breakfast program. During this program the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award will be given to a community member who exemplifies Ms. Beshears’ work for political, educational, social and economic equality of all persons. The public is invited to attend both events.
To learn more about the programs of the YWCA St. Joseph and efforts to eliminate racism in the region, contact us today.