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Olympia City Council proclaims February Black History Month in Olympia
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Olympia City Council proclaims February Black History Month in Olympia

The City event is joined by additional cultural and educational opportunities available to the public throughout the month.

This content was originally published in a newsletter sent out by the City of Olympia.

On Tuesday, the Olympia City Council acted to designate February as Black History Month 2022 and urged Olympians to seek opportunities to learn more about local area Black leaders, history and events.
“Embracing equity enhances the livability and vibrancy of our community,” said Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby. “We know we can’t celebrate our way out of inequity, but recognitions and celebrations can help us to reconcile and rebuild trust towards an inclusive community with stronger connections to our diverse heritage.”
Councilmember Dontae Payne, who took his seat on the Council last month, brought forward the proclamation, which gained Council’s unanimous support. 
The City of Olympia and Hawk Foundation for Research and Education in African Culture will further co-host an event celebrating Black history later this month at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. The virtual, online program will feature a keynote address by Payne; African American history presentations; and performances by Delbert Richardson’s Unspoken Truths Traveling Museum, Chanel music, and Awodi Drumming.
“We want to provide a day of celebration of black culture and independence by bringing performers, artists and educators, together to educate the community and empower Olympia to embrace diversity and equity,” said Javoen Byrd, event co-host and Hawk Foundation president. “If you’ve wanted to grow your awareness around African American achievements and accomplishments here in our own community, this is a chance to do that while also enjoying some music and entertainment.”   
In 2021, the Olympia City Council updated the City of Olympia Comprehensive Plan to acknowledge that a racially restrictive history has resulted in a lack of equitable access to resources and opportunities. Since that milestone, the City Council has initiated the creation of a Social Justice and Equity Commission and supported City Manager Jay Burney’s initiatives to launch multiple equity assessments, update hiring practices to help reduce bias, and invest in additional capacity to address diversity, equity and inclusion issues.
The public can join the Feb. 28 Black History Month celebration live at: or watch the rebroadcast on the City’s YouTube channel.
The City event is joined by additional cultural and educational opportunities available to the public throughout the month, such as exploring the Olympia Society and Bigelow House Museum Diverse Voices collection, reading the City’s Olympia Area Black Pioneers brochure; and watching the “Omo Africa” Juneteenth celebration by the Women of Color in Leadership Movement, Hawk Foundation, and Media Island International developed in partnership with the City of Olympia. For outdoor opportunities, individuals can take a self-guided walking tour of Downtown banners celebrating diverse community leaders, or attend a 1 p.m. Feb. 26, 2022, Howard Point celebration of a City-sponsored historic site marker.  
For information on how the City is working alongside Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, community groups, and employees to shape a more equal future and anti-racism strategy for Olympia, visit Members of the public can stay also informed about similar future cultural celebrations by signing up to receive City Diversity, Equity & Inclusion news at

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