Celebrating Black History Month 2024

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In celebration of the historical achievements of Black/African Americans, organizations in Santa Barbara are continuing the tradition of coming together to provide events for Black History Month (BHM) this February.

In this blog post, you will find a list of upcoming Black History Month events as well as a directory of local organizations that serve to uplift the joy, accomplishments, challenges, and successes of local Black/African-American individuals.

2024 Black History Month Events in Santa Barbara:

Below is a list of Community Events as of January 31, 2024. Please email Darrell McNeill and Sally Foxen-McNeill at SBBlackCultureHouse@gmail.com  and follow “Santa Barbara Black Culture House” on Facebook, Instagram, and X (Twitter) for the most up-to-date information. 

  • Thursday, February 1
    • “Sometimes Rugged, Sometimes Nice, and Sometimes Just Plain Mean”: Black Children and Racialized Gender Identity with Dr. Denise Isom (UCSB MultiCultural Center) | FREERegister for the Event!
      • 6PM – 7:30PM | UCSB MCC Theater
  • Saturday, February 3
    • BRC Orchestra Filmed Performance of Sly Stone’s ‘There’s A Riot Goin’ On’ (Black Culture House) | FREE
      • Event starts at 1:00 PM | Soul Bites, 423 State St. Santa Barbara, CA
  • Sunday February 4
    • Pre-recorded Interview with Greg Williams Founder of the Band ‘Switch’ of Black Excellence (Black Culture House) | FREE
      • Event starts at 1:00 PM | Soul Bites, 423 State St. Santa Barbara, CA
  • Tuesday, February 6
    • Black Campus Life with Professor Antar A. Tichavakunda (UCSB MultiCultural Center) | FREERegister for the Event!
      • 5PM-6:30PM | UCSB MCC Theater
  • Thursday, February 8
  • Saturday, February 10
    • Live Youth Poetry Jam by Obsidian Scholars (Black Culture House & Gateway Educational Services) | FREE
      • Event starts at 1:00 PM | Soul Bites, 423 State St. Santa Barbara, CA
  • Saturday, February 11
  • Thursday, February 15
    • Black Flea Market (UCSB MultiCultural Center) | FREE
      • Event starts at 6:00 PM | UCSB MCC Lounge
  • Saturday, February 17
    • Barrel McNeill Discusses His New Book ‘Isley Bros. 3+3’ Moderated by Aaron Jones (Black Culture House) | FREE
      • Event starts at 1:00 PM | Soul Bites, 423 State St. Santa Barbara, CA
  • Sunday, February 18
    • Live Music by Leah King (Black Culture House) | FREE
      • Event starts at 1:00 PM | Soul Bites, 423 State St. Santa Barbara, CA
  • Thursday, February 22
  • Friday, February 23
    • Black is Beautiful Gala and Fundraiser (Healing Justice Santa Barbara)
  • Saturday, February 24
    • Live Music by the “Funky Neighbors” (Black Culture House) | FREE
      • Event starts at 1:00 PM | Soul Bites, 423 State St. Santa Barbara, CA
  • Saturday, February 24 (Online)
  • Sunday, February 25
    • The Robey Theatre Company’s Live Reading of Richard Wesley’s ‘The Talented Tenth’ (Black Culture House) | FREE
      • Event starts at 1:00 PM | Soul Bites, 423 State St. Santa Barbara, CA

Local Organizations:

Get to know organizations that are not only participating in this year’s Black History Month events, but shedding light on the achievements, obstacles, and triumphs of local Black/African-American individuals all year round.

1. Coffee with a Black Guy

Coffee with a Black Guy (CWABG) is an innovative social impact movement launched in July 2016 by Santa Barbara resident James Joyce III. In these community conversations, Joyce facilitates candid cross-cultural dialogue to help counteract racial tumult. The sessions are a time to share stories, have conversations, impart perspective or just listen and learn from fellow citizens of the world. Simply put, Coffee. Connection. Conversations. Learn more at cwabg.com.

2. Endowment for Youth Community

Since its start in 1986, EYC has been one of the largest organizations on the California Central Coast that remains dedicated to the educational success and advancement of Black/African American youth. Co-founded by Melvin Richey and Cliff Lambert, the organization provides educational, cultural, social, and recreational programs for young African-American men and all other segments of our youth. More than thirty years later, EYC is adapting to the dynamic youth of today to more accurately address their needs and concerns. EYC is committed to our youth, to their success, and to putting forth all our resources to help them thrive. Learn more at endowmentforyouth.org.

3. Gateway Educational Services

Serving students since 2009 Gateway Educational Services is Santa Barbara County’s only nonprofit learning center. This year Gateway expanded its services to provide 40 Black/African American students needing support in Santa and Lompoc. Gateway was founded by Connie Alexander and Audrey Gamble African American educators and leaders. Learn more at gatewayeducationalservices.org

4. Healing Justice Santa Barbara

Healing Justice Santa Barbara aspires to uplift all Black/African-Americans to affirm that they are deserving of safety, love, equity, respect, and joy. Simply put we do it for the love of Black people. Learn more at HJSB.org.

5. Juneteenth Santa Barbara

Juneteenth Santa Barbara organizes our local celebration of Juneteenth, an annual event that brings community members together to celebrate the freedom of slaves in the United States. It’s a time to honor ancestors and celebrate freedom, showcasing black joy and culture in Santa Barbara, California. The community event also honors local black artists, performers, and organizations as well as provides free food, dancing, and singing. Learn more at juneteenthsb.com.

6. Santa Barbara Black Culture House

In February 2020, Darrell McNeill and Sally Foxen-McNeill created the Black History Month Culture House as a pop-up cultural event space in downtown Santa Barbara. Live music performances, film/documentary/concert video screenings, live discussions, and more all centered around the richness of Black culture, were featured every weekend in February. Find out more about this year’s virtual programming at BHMCultureHouse@gmail.com.

7. UCSB Arts & Lectures

Founded in 1959, UCSB Arts & Lectures is the largest and most influential arts and lectures organization between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Arts & Lectures annually presents more than a hundred public events, from critically acclaimed concerts and dance performances by world-renowned artists to talks by groundbreaking authors and film series at UCSB and Santa Barbara-area venues. With a mission to “educate, entertain and inspire,” A&L also oversees an outreach program that brings visiting artists and speakers into local classrooms and other venues for master classes, open rehearsals, discussions and more, serving K-12 students, college students and the general public. Learn more at artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.

8. UCSB MultiCultural Center (MCC)

In 1987, the MCC was created out of demand for a safer and more inclusive community space for students of color at UCSB. Since then, the center has grown, both in its mission and physical footprint, to address myriad social justice issues and take action in pursuit of a more just society. Learn more at mcc.sa.ucsb.edu.

9. National Association For the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Santa Barbara

NAACP, Santa Barbara ensures that Black lives are a priority in all spaces. They work to disrupt inequality, dismantle racism, and accelerate change in key areas, including criminal justice, health care, education, climate, and the economy. When it comes to civil rights and social justice, they have the unique ability to secure more wins than anyone else. Help make racial equity a reality. Learn more at naacpsantabarbara.org

10. The National Association For the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Santa Maria-Lompoc

The National Association For the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Santa Maria-Lompoc, was founded in 1909 to address existing racial and ethnic disparities and is the largest and oldest civil rights organization in the nation.  Its mission is to secure the social, political, educational, and economic equality of rights of all people by removing barriers such as race-based discrimination and to ensure the health and well-being of all persons. Learn more at santamarialompocnaacp.org

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