This February, the City of Santa Monica will honor Black History Month with the theme of Black Health and Wellness. This year’s events range from the educational to the therapeutic. Most events will be virtual and include an opening ceremony on February 3, 2022, a reception and Black history-themed art walk on February 19, and the Black Excellence Awards on February 24.
“February is an incredibly special time for the Santa Monica community to come together to celebrate Blackness and discuss solutions to pressing issues that affect the Black community,” said Delana G. Gbenekama, equity and communications coordinator for the City and founder and lead of the City’s Black History Month Committee. “We’re extremely grateful for the speakers, artists and community partners we’re collaborating with to offer programming we strongly believe people need to cope with the realities they’re living through.”
Elementary, middle and high school students are invited to submit artwork by January 25, 2022, for display at Santa Monica City Hall and at the Building Bridges Art Exchange at the Bergamot Station Arts Center. The City is accepting nominations for the Black Excellence Awards with a deadline of February 2, 2022. Events include:
Opening Ceremony, Thursday, February 3, 10:30 a.m. (Virtual): Local health professionals will discuss the importance of physical and mental health. There will also be special performances by the female tap dance group the Syncopated Ladies, a hula hoop competition and a healthy cooking demonstration.
Reception and Art Walk, Saturday, February 19, 2 p.m.: The City and Building Bridges Art Exchange are partnering to host a reception at the Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Unit F2, to highlight student artwork in collaboration with local schools and exhibits featuring Black historical figures in the health and wellness field in partnership with the Quinn Research Center. The reception will include refreshments followed by a self-guided tour of galleries displaying Black History-themed exhibits.
Celebrating Black Excellence Awards, Thursday, February 24, 6:30 p.m. (Virtual): The City will honor Black professionals who exemplify outstanding leadership and service. The event will also showcase South African dance performances featuring celebrity choreographers and dancers Lindiwe Rose and Jamal Josef. The Black History Month Committee invites the public to submit nominations for Black professionals who live or work in Santa Monica to be honored at the event. The deadline for submissions is February 2, 2022.
View the full list of Black History Month events in Santa Monica at santamonica.gov/blog/black-history-month-2022.
Black History Month is an effort of the City’s Black History Month Committee. The Black History Month Committee is composed of City staff who work in coordination with Black community leaders to make the events a success.
Constance Farrell, City of Santa Monica