What Does Black History Month Mean to You?


As we celebrate Black History Month, it’s important to remember how we got here. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.

But history isn’t just something that happened generations ago. History is something we contribute to—good, bad, or indifferently—on a daily basis. And as SEIU Local 1000 members gathering the power necessary to create social, economic, environmental, and racial justice for each other and ALL Californians, we know we’ve made it this far thanks to the sacrifice and hard work of those that came before.

With this in mind, throughout February we’re reflecting on our past, how it has shaped us, and how it motivates us to keep moving forward.

Black history is a story of resilience. From the horrors of slavery to the oppression of the Jim Crow era to the discrimination of the Civil Rights era to the slaughter of unarmed Black men, we did not give up. They killed Medgar, Malcolm, and Martin. That pain birthed James, Oprah, and Barack. From the day we were first brought unwillingly to these shores, we have never stopped fighting for our name, sense of self, and dignity. We have never let the indignities heaped upon us to deflect, detract, nor deter us in our pursuit of greatness. I know of no greater story of resilience and determination than what is celebrated every day by Black Americans. That is what Black history means to me.

Tracie Kimbrough
Women’s Empowerment Committee Chair

Although Black History is American History, February is a special time for me and those around me to recognize the sacrifices my ancestors made to pave the way for civil justice, equal rights, and systemic change. 

Jacquie Martin 
NextGen Committee Chair 

I’m reminded every day of the path that my ancestors laid down for me. During the month of February, I’m given the opportunity to reflect on the journey that I’ve taken to making my dream a reality and ensuring that the path for generations that follow is a smoother transition. I heard a legend say to get in “good trouble.” Until then, I’m gonna stay focused, stay the course, and in the end we shall prevail!

Larry Collins
Bargaining Unit 4 / DLC 747