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February has been widely celebrated as Black History Month across the country for over half a century, and it has only become more significant in recent years with the power of our global connectivity, reaching beyond borders. Amplifying Black voices and creating spaces for Black communities to come together and heal are more vital than ever following the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in 2020 and the subsequent protests and trials. Here is a mix of five events this month, some online, some in-person, to celebrate our local Black communities and their contributions to society. 

Napa: Napa Valley’s fifth annual Black History Month event 

Saturday: Gone virtual, Napa’s fifth annual celebration of Black History Month will take place on Saturday over Zoom. The event aims to build healthy relationships across all cultures and share the Black experience through food. Meal tickets for the event are priced at $25 apiece, and will include soul food and donated wine from a Black-owned winery that can be picked up at Crosswalk Community Church in Napa on the day of the event. You can purchase meal tickets until Wednesday and find the video conference link at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5343991

Oakland: Second Mondays 

Feb. 14: Gold Beams and Black Joy Parade will be organizing another iteration of Second Mondays, a monthly multidisciplinary open mic for Black creatives to perform art and for Black audiences to enjoy. The winners of the open mic will receive cash prizes and a chance perform on the Black Joy Parade stage later in the month, to an audience of thousands. For more information, and to RSVP for the event happening at the New Parish in Downtown Oakland on Feb. 14 at goldbeams.org

Gold Beams hosts the Second Mondays open mic for black creatives every month in Oakland. This month’s event on Feb. 14 is a special Black History Month celebration, with performers competing for a spot on the stage at the Feb. 27 Black Joy Parade. (Photo courtesy Gold Beams)

Castro Valley: Black History Month Community Hike 

Feb. 19: If you’d like to start a weekend off with a four-hour hike and come together with other members of the Black community, you can join the Black History Month Community Hike taking place 7 a.m.-noon Feb. 19 at Lake Chabot Regional Park. While all skill levels are welcome for the trek, the organizers emphasize getting a good night’s sleep and hydrating well in preparation for the activity. Register for free, donate and order a commemorative T-shirt here: bit.ly/3oaDZjQ

SF: Black History Month celebration concert with Martin Luther McCoy  

Feb. 26: To close out its “Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks” and “Billie Zangewa: Thread for a Web Begun” exhibitions, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco will host a Black History Month celebration event in partnership with SFJazz. San Francisco artist Martin Luther McCoy will perform his signature mix of blues and griot storytelling to accompany original and repurposed visuals in a multimedia production. You can register to attend the in-person event at 4 p.m. Feb. 26 at moadsf.org

Oakland: The Fifth Annual Black Joy Parade 

Feb. 27: Black Joy Parade, an Oakland-based hyper-positive nonprofit that aims to celebrate the Black experience and the Black community’s contribution to history and culture, will host its signature parade for the fifth year in Downtown Oakland on Feb. 27. To learn more about the event, volunteer, perform or join the parade, visit blackjoyparade.org.  

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