Category Archives: Black History Month

Meeting of March 9, 2021 – Benicia Black Lives Matter

Tuesday, March 9, 7 PM
Getting together with Benicia Black Lives Matter

Discussion with Benicia Black Lives Matter

On March 9, we welcomed about a dozen Benicia Black Lives Matter members who joined us in conversations and brainstorming how we might support one another and collaborate in the future.

First, each group gave a brief overview of their group’s origins, goals, successes, and membership.  Kari Birdseye, Ralph Dennis and Nathalie Christian presented for the Progressive Dems.  Nimat Shakoor-Grantham and Brandon Greene presented for Benicia Black Lives Matter.

Mayor Steve Young presented an update on the City of Benicia’s responses to BBLM issues, including the status on hiring of the Diversity and Equity Manager.

After these introductions, we divided into six ZOOM “breakout rooms with 5-7 participants, where we shared conversations around areas of work and issues where we might collaborate on projects and actions.

The reports back from the 6 breakout rooms were full of good ideas, comments and suggestions.

PDB looks forward to ongoing strong relationships with BBLM.

Benicia Black Lives Matter is a local, grassroots community group organized to address anti-Black racism in the city of Benicia.  BBLM is the principal reason the City of Benicia is presently interviewing for an Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Manger, establishing a Commission United for Racial Equity (CURE), and will be conducting an Equity Audit of Benicia’s government and services.

We strongly support BBLM’s strategy to get Benicians to “Actively Commit to Change” and its mission to have the City create and target a specific, actionable vision of what a better, more inclusive and equitable future looks like.

PDB’s mission is to ensure equity and justice for all people, and support the election and appointment of officials that support this mission.  Our programs and actions since 2017 have promoted our mission, and we hope collaboration with BBLM will help us operationalize racial and social justice into our work more effectively.  More broadly, through collaboration we hope we can combine resources and energy for greater impact in Benicia and our communities.

Meeting of February 9, 2021 – Black History Month / CA Dem Chair Interview for Endorsement

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 7 PM
Black History Month and
CA Dem Party Chair Candidates

At our February meeting, we celebrated Black History Month, hearing from two local African-American poets, Bobby Richardson and LaPaula Parker.  Bobby and LaPaula shared their thoughts and poetry on the achievements of African-Americans in the U.S. and the work towards racial justice that must continue in this country and Benicia.  Benicia’s Poet Laureate, Mary Susan Gast, introduced Bobby and LaPaula, and shared her own poem on white privilege.

Our program also included a discussion and Q&A with the two candidates running for Chair of the California Democratic Party, Rusty Hicks, present chair, and Delaine Eastin, challenger.

PDB members will endorse one of these candidates by voting online via the PDB web site during the week after our meeting.    Results will be posted on our Endorsements page.  Party Delegates may consider our endorsement when they vote for the Party’s officers, including the Chair, during the Democratic State Convention scheduled for April 26 – Sunday, May 2, 2021.

Solano Community College hosting virtual Black History Month – Events Feb. 10-24

Edited from the Vallejo Times-Herald by Nick Sestanovich, February 2, 2021.

For decades, Solano Community College has dedicated February to Black History Month with a series of events and discussions focusing on the issues African-Americans have faced and continue to experience.

This year’s slate of events will be presented virtually over Zoom. Shirley Lewis, SCC’s dean of student services, said the platform has worked well in conducting operations during the pandemic and she expects a strong turnout. “We expect good participation,” she said. “It’s open to everybody in the community.”

SCC’s theme this year is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” in keeping with the national Black History Month theme for 2021.

According to Ms. Lewis, the presentations and discussions will shed some light on the issues African-American families have faced for centuries, with discussions facilitated by current and present college faculty as well as members of the community. Feb. 3 was the first event, “It Ain’t Easy: Black Families in America,” and was hosted by Troy Finley, the founder of Myrtle’s Place; and Ebony Antoine, the director of Broken by Violence. The remaining events occur:

  • On Feb. 10, retired SCC Professor Dr. Karen McCord. SCC’s past ethnic studies program coordinator, will host “The Black Family: Civil Rights Era Challenges and Triumph.” From 3 to 4 p.m.; and, Zoom ID is 997 9665 2696.
  • On Feb. 17, licensed clinical social worker Kenya Sullivan will present “Political Trauma & Self-Efficacy: Reclaiming Our Progress.” From 3 to 4 p.m.; and, Zoom ID is 938 5005 7817.
  • On Feb. 22, adjunct history professor Dr. Damany Fisher will present “Political Violence During the Reconstruction Period: 1865-1877” and discuss the brutal issues that African-Americans faced after the Civil War. From Noon to 1 p.m.; and, the Zoom ID is Zoom ID: 971 3743 4586.
  • On Feb. 24 will be a discussion of the Bryan Stevenson book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice & Redemption,” facilitated by Lewis and Associated Students of Solano College. “Just Mercy” is the story of a civil rights attorney who represents death row inmates in the South. From Noon to 1 p.m.; and, Zoom ID is 913 7462 0707.
  • The month’s events close Feb. 25 with a presentation by Edward Russell Jr., Vacaville resident and the founder of Brothers Helping Up His (BRUH), titled “Black Cultural Concepts: #Code-Switching.” From 3 to 4 p.m.; and, the Zoom ID is 923 5256 2550.

For more information, visit