8 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

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Black History Month is an important observance that when celebrated by attending well organized and educational events, both in-person and online, can help your family understand and support the Black community year-round. As James Baldwin said, Black history is American history. There’s much to celebrate and honor, and a lot of work to be done toward racial justice. So how can you and your children celebrate, learn and engage with Black history in Portland? Read on for ways to involve the whole family this February and beyond.

Spencer C. via Yelp

Portland Jazz Festival

Presented this year by PDX Jazz, a local jazz organization, the Portland Jazz Festival enters its 19th consecutive year of celebrating jazz and Black History Month This year’s festivities feature GRAMMY Award Winners, as well as local artists! Whether your family members are die-hard jazz lovers who wouldn’t mind spending a few bucks on tickets for select performances, or  wouled prefer to attend one of the many free musical shows, options are not in short supply. Head online for more information about performance scheduling, ticket pricing, and of course, the COVID-19 policy and then get jazzy with it!

When: Feb. 17- 26
Online: pdxjazz.org/festival/

Multonomah County Library’s Black Storytime!

Maybe you are crunched with work and the little ones are too tired to get out of the house. Don’t worry. This event is online and geared to the tiniest of tots. If you are a new parent, or a parent with a child up to age 6, this is the event for you! Set the laptop up and jump in for a live storytelling experience, a bit of singing, and a whole lot of fun. This event is only thirty minutes, the perfect amount of time to keep your little one engaged, entertained and learning. Head online to register via Zoom, free of charge!

Where: Virtual
When: Feb. 2
Cost: Free
Online: here

OPB: Oregon’s Black Pioneers

This February, OPB is publishing a 30 minute special that will air on TV and be available online, documenting Oregon’s Black Pioneers. In this special, OPB will cover the centuries-long story that covers the African American from the late 18th century to the present. Gather the family around a computer, iPad, or television to learn about the Black Pioneers of Oregon from the comfort of your own home! Flexible, free, and full of educational material, this is an event you can be sure will enrich your family this Black History Month!

Where: Virtual
When: Monday, Feb. 7 from 9:30 – 10 p.m.
Online: here

Oregon Historical Society

Black History Online Learning Course

Perhaps you and your family have always wanted to know a little bit more than free readings, talks or a chapter of a book at school could deliver. Look no further than Simon Education, an online schooling program that is offering a month long event geared towards Black History! Spanning the nearly 250,000 years of Black history, your child will follow the two child superheros as they relive the events and evolution that is Black history throughout time. This event does require a donation, about $10 per family, and doles out much more knowledge than money is worth! Grab the kids and work your way through the four modules of awe and inspiration together. 

Where: Virtual
When: Feb 5, 12, 19, & 26
Online at: here

PCC’s Cascade Festival of African Films

Take things back to the start of it all: Africa. Through films and their unique storytelling capacities, this year’s Annual Cascade Festival is honoring the cultural and historical saga that is Africa. Films like Diatribe: From the Village to the Streets or Casablanca Beats take viewers from past to present and everywhere in between. Films are being shown through the beginning of March, so don’t sweat the timing too much! There is an opportunity every weekend to spend some quality time with the family in front of the big screen.

Where: Virtual & In-Person
When:  Feb. 4 – Mar. 5
Online: here

Kim G. via Yelp

Trail Blazers: Celebration of Black History

“Let’s go Blazers!”. This is a phrase you and your family must know well if you know the Trail Blazers. Whether you’re big into sports or just when your friends make you sit through a game, this Black History Month event hosted by Portland’s NBA team is one you’ll surely not want to miss! Friday, February 21st marks another year of the annual celebration by the Trail Blazers and will feature live performances, fundraising opportunities, and, you guessed it, sick Trail Blazers swag! Fundraising will be for the Black Education Achievement Movement, an organization driven to help African youth pursue furthered education. So pop on all your sports apparel, grab the kids and head to the MODA center this February to get involved and give back!

Where: MODA Center, 1 N Center Ct St., 
When:  Feb.12, 2 p.m.
Online: here

Clinton Street Theater’s Hidden Colors

Come out for another film screening at Portland’s Clinton Street Theater this February! The theater is showing Tariq Nasheed’s Hidden Colors, a documentary highlighting African and aboriginal historical stories that have been left out of the mainstream voice. Listen to featured voices of scholars, social movement leaders, and historians as they unpack the largely untold history of Black History Month! This is sure to be a memorable experience, so head to Clinton Street Theater’s website to secure the family’s tickets now!

Where: Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St.
When: February 9, 16, 22
Online: here

Black Love Day Comedy Show & Fundraiser

Maybe your children are a bit older, and maybe you have some money to spend. If that sounds right, then this is the Black History Month event for you. Built around Black Love Day, a prequel to Valentine’s Day that expresses and discusses love within Black culture, this comedy show and fundraiser is a catered evening full of food, drinks, and hilarity. Come ready to dine, drink and donate, laugh, love and laugh some more all night long! 

Where: The Suite Spot PDX, 24-32 NW 2nd Ave., 
When: Feb. 13
Cost: $60 – $300
Online: here

—Hannah Judge

Featured photo: PDX Jazz Festival via yelp

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