Some Racial Justice Learning Opportunities for February

One of the goals of the Racial Justice Change Team is to connect the congregation to our work. With that focus in mind, we want to help honor Black History Month and Lunar New Year (February 12). We would also like to bring to your attention some learning opportunities about Coast Salish tribal history and a book by a Korean-American author on the Asian American experience. Each learning opportunity is offered by a Seattle organization.

(Note: Presenter and author names followed by * indicate the person is BIPOC. [WSUU] indicates that the presenter/facilitator is a WSUU member or friend.)

Many thanks to WSUU members Cindy Jackson, Ginger Brewer, Roseanne Lorenzana, Albert Lorenzana, Cecelia Hayes, Simon Knaphus, Cynthia Townsend, and Kerrie Schurr for suggesting and/or offering these learning resources:

  • Black History Month:
  • The South Seattle Emerald is running a series called “Black History Today” by Marcus Harden* in collaboration with Rise Up for Students. These daily snapshots feature important Black people from the local community.
  • [WSUU] In honor of Black History Month, Cecelia Hayes* is offering a film screening and discussion of “The Songs are Free: Bernice Johnson Reagon and African American Music.” If there’s a Song in your Heart, come join us on February 22 from 7:30-9:15 p.m.!

“In this one-hour film, Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Curator Emerita at the Smithsonian Institution, discusses with Bill Moyers how black music has shaped the African-American experience and identity. 

Reagon traces the role of early spirituals rooted in the black church to their inspirational use in the early Civil Rights movement. “The songs are free, and they have meaning placed in them by the singers. It can just as easily be a resistance song as it can be this internal nurturing of the soul.”

Contact for Zoom meeting details.

  • Lunar New Year:
  • [WSUU] Miss the WSUU service on February 7? Watch the recording of Albert Lorenzana* telling the Story for All Ages, about Tết, the Vietnamese New Year’s celebration.
  • Tết 2021 Celebration in Seattle, with the event jointly organized by Tết in Seattle and Seattle Center. Learn about this important Vietnamese tradition by exploring the Facebook and Instagram links, and don’t miss the art showcase. New content is being added to the social media sites daily from February 5-12.
  • Native American History in the Puget Sound Area:
    • Four parks along the Duwamish River have received new names in Lushootseed, the native language of the Coast Salish tribes. To learn more, check out this South Seattle Emerald article, including the video art piece, “The Power of Our Stories.” The video features Coast Salish storytellers sharing stories demonstrating the importance of community culture, environmental health, and the Duwamish River.  
  • The Holocaust Center for Humanity offered a two-part series related to Coast Salish history in early February; recordings are available on their website:
    • “Who Was Chief Seattle?” with author and historian David Buerge (held February 2). He wrote the first (and so far only) biography of Chief Seattle, Chief Seattle and the Town That Took His Name: The Change of Worlds for the Native People and Settlers on Puget Sound.
  • “From Genocide to Emergence in Our Homeland: An Introduction to Coast Salish History by Children of the Setting Sun” with David Hillaire* (held February 9). David is a Lummi Nation member and Executive Director/Co-Founder of Children of the Setting Sun Productions.
  • An Asian American’s Experience with Race: One of the February ‘Peak Pick’ Reads from Seattle Public Library isMinor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, by Cathy Park Hong.* Hong is a Korean American poet and writer who shares her personal experiences with race in this critically acclaimed essay collection. She also examines the truth behind Asian American stereotypes.

                —By Kerrie Schurr

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