Black History Month
Join the Santa Monica Black Agenda tomorrow night for “Courageous Conversations: Why Black Lives Matter,” a virtual forum on how community members can advance anti-racism. See the full slate of Black History Month events.
January 28 | 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Fairview Library Branch
Description: Filmmaker Ava DuVernay traces the explosive growth of mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex back to the passage of the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the United States for all except prisoners. A discussion of the film and its themes follows the screening. (Film runtime: 100 min.)
Saturday, February 1 | 3 p.m.
The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity
The City of Santa Monica is hosting “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,” an online event happening on Thursday, February 4 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. This special event will commemorate Rosa Parks Day, and features a “discussion by local families highlighting the diversity, identity and history of Santa Monica’s Black community.” The event will also feature dance performances as well as special small segments “highlighting the cooking traditions of Black families.” RSVP to receive the link to this free event.
Thursday, February 4 | 10:30 to 11:30 am
Santa Monica City Hall
Join us to kick off Black History Month on Rosa Parks Day. This event celebrates the historical significance of Black fraternities and sororities in African-American life, and their strong commitment to community service. Local leaders will speak about their Divine Nine experiences. There will also be a step show performance. Divine Nine members are encouraged to wear their Greek paraphernalia. Refreshments will be served.
Tuesday, February 4 | 10:30 a.m.
The virtual edition of the Annual African American Children’s Book Fair is happening on Saturday, February 6th. Join a number of authors and illustrators for this special event. Check the website for more details as they become available.
Saturday, February 6
Fairview Library Branch
Sean Gaskell performs traditional songs on the 21-stringed West African kora, an instrument native to the Mande peoples of Gambia, Senegal, Mali, and Guinea. Seating is limited; free tickets released 30 minutes prior to the performance.
Thursday, February 6 | 7 p.m.
Leimert Park Village Plaza
3411 W. 43rd Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90008
The 2021 Los Angeles Black History Month Festival was scheduled for Saturday, February 6th and Sunday, February 7th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. This free community event features two city blocks of festivities including art exhibits, artisans marketplace, live music, and much more. Check the website for further details; the event may be canceled this year for health and safety reasons.
Sunday, February 7 | 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Bowers Museum is hosting a special two-day online event, Historical Insights into the Black Experience in Santa Ana and Greater Orange County, on Sunday, February 7th and Monday, February 8th. This presentation will “shine light on the experience of Black Americans in Orange County from the formation of the county and 1889 to the turbulent 1960s to current day.” Tickets are available online ($10).
Sunday, February 7 | Monday, February 8
A Taste of Africa – L.A.P.L. Online Event
The Alma Reeves Woods – Watts Branch Library invites families to a special online event, “A Taste of Africa,” on Wednesday, February 10 at 3 p.m. “In celebration of African American Heritage Month, we will read Thank You, Omu. Learn where you can enjoy Nigerian cooking in Los Angeles and explore your family’s traditions through the art of collage.” Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link.
Wednesday, February 10 | 3 p.m.
The performance is Heartbeat Opera's Breathing Free. Heartbeat collaborated with 100 incarcerated singers in six prison choirs to create a contemporary American Fidelio told through the lens of Black Lives Matter and is being presented for the public on February 10 & 13, 2021. If you click on the link, you can learn more about it. Each program will feature a panel discussion; one with artists who work with incarcerated populations and another focused on restorative justice, the challenges facing those returning to the community and importance of education.
February 10 and 13
On Thursday, February 11th at 3 p.m., “award-winning children’s and young adult author Kwame Alexander will discuss his books during a moderated Z&A conversation.” Check the website for details on registering and learning how to share your questions before the event.
Thursday, February 11 | 3 p.m.
There is a panel discussion taking place on Saturday, February 13, 2021 (online screening at 7:30, panel to follow approximately from 8:15 - 8:45 p.m.). This performance is a part of The Broad Stage's curatorial path toward Responsibility and Action in the Pursuit of Racial Justice.
Saturday, February 13 | 7:30 p.m.
Families are invited to get moving with a Afro-Joy Dance Party with Tatiana Zamir on Thursday, February 18th from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. This special event is designed for “all bodies and levels of experience to embody joy, healing and connect with the community.” Tickets are free, but reservations are required. Once you RSVP, you’ll receive the link to the event.
Thursday, February 18 | 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Montana Avenue Branch Book Group - Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by
Montana Library Branch
Wednesday, February 19 | 7 p.m.
Pico Branch Library
Description: In this moving documentary, descendants of the victims and perpetrators of lynching work together to heal a violent history. Blending observational footage with first-person testimonies and expert input, Always in Season examines the lingering impact of lynching and the link between this historic form of racial terrorism and the racial violence that exists today. A discussion of the film follows the screening. (Film runtime: 89 min.)
Wednesday, February 19 | 6:30 p.m.
The Los Angeles Public Library System is hosting an online event, Teen Book Bites: Black Lives Matter, on Monday, February 22 at 3 p.m. Librarians will be discussing “books for teens about the Black Lives Matter movement, and find some recommendations for your next great read.” The event will be streamed live on LAPL’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
Monday, February 22 | 3 p.m.
Natashia Deón is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Grace (Counterpoint Press) —awarded the 2017 First Novel Prize by the American Library Association’s Black Caucus (BCALA), and named a Kirkus Review Best Book of 2016 and a New York Times Top Book 2016. She is a practicing attorney, law professor, and UCLA creative writing professor, and an advocate of abolition of the prison industrial complex. She also launched Redeem, a nonprofit hub of services and relief for those who have been convicted or incarcerated. Deón is the recipient of a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship and a number of fellowships and residencies. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, Buzzfeed, LA Review of Books, The Rumpus, The Feminist Wire, Asian American Lit Review, Rattling Wall, and other places. Sponsored by the SMC Associates and SMC English Department.
Tuesday, February 23 | 11:15 a.m. | Free | Zoom Link for Afternoon with Natashia Deón
Join us for an online talk by social reform advocate Jerome Dixon on protecting the rights of minors taken into custody for an alleged crime, and the California law that makes sure they talk with an attorney before waiving their Miranda rights. As a high school junior, Dixon was arrested as a suspect in a murder, interrogated for 25 hours without parental notification, coerced into signing an incriminating statement used against him, and sent to a California prison. In 2011 — 21 years later — the California Prison Parole Board had difficulty comprehending his incarceration, acknowledged his innocence, and released him from custody. Sponsored by the SMC Associates.
Tuesday, February 23 | 7:30 p.m. | Free | Zoom for Justice for Minors in California password: 081300
Third Street Promenade between Santa Monica Boulevard and Arizona Avenue
A community mixer to celebrating Black professionals in Santa Monica. Refreshments will be served. More details coming soon.
Nominate a Black Professional
The City of Santa Monica's Black History Month Committee is accepting nominations for professionals who will be honored at the mixer. Nominees must live or work in Santa Monica. Nominations must include a few sentences about how the nominee demonstrates outstanding leadership or service. The deadline for submissions is February 15.
Tuesday, February 25 | 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era
Montana Library Branch
Description: Historian and heritage conservation consultant Alison Rose Jefferson, M.H.C., Ph.D., presents and discusses her new book. It focuses on the struggle for leisure and public space for all within the long freedom rights struggle, with emphasis on the Santa Monica area. Co-sponsored by the Santa Monica Conservancy.
Wednesday, February 26 | 6:30 p.m.
The Aquarium of the Pacific will broadcast its Virtual African American Festival, live, on Saturday, February 27th from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This free event “will feature African and African-American music, dance, storytelling, and historical displays.” Information on how to view the Festival will be available on the Aquarium’s website.
Virginia Avenue Park, the Parent Connection Group, and the Library in a celebration of Black History Month with the annual Greens Festival. This year's festival theme is Honoring Black Royalty and features chef cooking demonstrations, a community Greens cooking contest, a Black History exhibit, arts and crafts, a scavenger hunt, musical performances, book readings and more!
Saturday, February 27 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The 29th Annual Pan African Film + Arts Festival is happening February 28 through March 14. The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) was established in 1992 and is “dedicated to racial tolerance through the exhibition of film, art and creative expression.” The Festival, which is “the largest Black Film Festival in America” highlights both new and old films, as well as fine art and crafts. A variety of events are planned, and ticket information is available online. Check the website for more information as it becomes available.