February 2023

Black History Month, the NBA All-Star game, and State of the Union.

During February

While Black History Month is officially commemorated during February, we honor Black history and celebrate Black excellence and futures year-round. This month — and into March — opportunities abound for telling an affirmative story about racial justice in the United States. Cite the values of voice and community in sharing these resources with your audiences.

February 1

On this day in 1960, four civil rights protesters started the first lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro, NC. Use this anniversary to talk about the importance of civic action and standing up for racial justice. Cite the values of voice and community.

Today is also the annual celebration of World Hijab Day. This international day of action aims to bring attention to the discrimination and prejudice Muslim women face in the workplace and in communities. Cite the values of voice and safety.

February 2

On this day in 1848, the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, bringing an end to the Mexican–American War and moving the existing border between the two countries. When discussing this treaty, emphasize how proposals to militarize and build walls in border communities run counter to cultural history of the region. Cite the values of equity and safety.

February 4

Today is Transit Equity Day. Organizers chose Feb. 4 to commemorate Rosa Parks’ birthday and hold the annual observance to “make public transit accessible and affordable to all, create good jobs by expanding our public transit systems, and protect our health and climate by using renewable energy to power our buses and trains.”

February 5

On this day in 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) which requires most employers to provide job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons to their employees. The law was an important step for worker rights but today advocates are pushing for paid family and medical leave for all workers. Cite the values of opportunity and equity when discussing this anniversary.

Today is also the birthday of Trayvon Martin. His death in 2012 and the acquittal of his killer in 2013 launched the #BlackLivesMatter movement. When discussing Trayvon Martin, cite the values of safety and equity.

February 7

On this day in 2013, Mississippi officially certified the 13th Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery and involuntary servitude. The state voted against ratification in 1865, and in 1995 —130 years later— the state legislature voted to ratify the amendment but failed to notify the federal register. Use this anniversary to talk about the continued need for racial justice in the United States, especially in our criminal legal system. Cite the values of safety, opportunity, and community.

President Joe Biden will also deliver his 2023 State of the Union address this evening. Each year, the President of the United States goes before the full U.S. Congress to outline key issues impacting our democracy. Their remarks often signal the core issues Congress and the president’s party plan to focus on in the coming months. Use this hook to educate audiences on your priorities, whether or not they’re featured in the president’s remarks. Emphasize the importance of voice among the values you uplift on this day.

February 8

On this day in 1887, U.S. President Grover Cleveland signed the Dawes Act into law, imposing private land ownership on American Indians. This was intended to break up tribes as communal units and threaten tribal sovereignty. Use this anniversary to advocate for racial and economic justice for Native Americans. Cite the values of voice and opportunity.

February 11

On this day in 2021, Winter Storm Uri began rolling into Texas, leaving millions without electricity — and some without water service — across the state. The state’s final report estimates that 246 people died as a result of the storm, with roughly two-thirds of those deaths the result of hypothermia. Similar to recent hurricanes, the natural disaster revealed existing inequalities as people living in poverty struggled to stay warm. Commemorate this date as a reminder of the urgency to ensure racial justice grounds infrastructure debates and climate resilience planning. Cite the values of community and opportunity.

On this day in 1978, Native American activists launched The Longest Walk, a 3,200-mile spiritual walk across the country to support tribal sovereignty and challenge anti-Indian legislation that limited water rights. Today, supporting indigenous-led campaigns to protect water rights and ancestral lands remains urgent. When discussing this anniversary, cite the values of voice and opportunity.

February 12

On this day in 1968, African American sanitation workers went on strike in Memphis, Tennessee for better pay and safer working conditions. The strikers would create the iconic image with their “I Am a Man” posters. During the strike, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. traveled to Memphis, where he was assassinated. Discuss this anniversary by citing the values of voice, opportunity, and community.

Today is also Super Bowl Sunday in Glendale, AZ. While the big game is best known for entertaining commercials and snack spreads, the media event surrounding it has also created opportunities for cultural strategies, from Beyoncé’s iconic halftime show to activism for NFL teams to drop offensive and disparaging Native American mascots. Cite the values of voice and equity.

February 18

Today is the birthday of two influential African-American writers/activists: Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde. They were born a few years apart. Throughout their careers, they explored the intersectional issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Use their birthdays to raise the values of voice and equity.

February 18-19

This weekend, the National Basketball Association (NBA) hosts its All-Star Game in Salt Lake City (full schedule available here). Professional basketball players — from the NBA and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) — have been important cultural influencers in the Movement for Black Lives. Many WNBA athletes have also actively organized in support of pay equity. Use this weekend to talk about racial and gender justice both on and off the court. Cite the values of voice, equity, and safety.

February 19

On this day in 1923, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the case of United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind that an Indian Sikh man was ineligible for naturalized citizenship in the United States. The decision prevented South Asians from becoming American citizens. Discuss this anniversary by citing the values of opportunity and equity.

Day of Remembrance: On this day in 1942, the War Relocation Authority was established to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps. Discuss the significance of this anniversary by emphasizing the values of community and safety.

February 20

World Day for Social Justice was established by the United Nations through the International Labor Organization (ILO) to emphasize consensus on the need for fairness and greater employment and economic opportunity for all. Cite the values of community and opportunity when talking about this day.

February 21

Each year, the president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) presents the State of Indian Nations around the same time as the U.S. president’s State of the Union. To facilitate direct engagement, a member of Congress is also invited each year to deliver a congressional response.

On this day in 1933, singer, songwriter, pianist, and activist Nina Simone was born. Throughout her career, Simone fearlessly spoke out against injustice. Use the anniversary of Simone’s birth as the opportunity to talk about the example she provided for artists to be activists and cultural influencers. Cite the values of voice and equity.

On this day in 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated in Harlem, New York. A Netflix documentary questions the criminal investigation following his death. Discuss the anniversary of his death and the legacy of Malcolm X’s activism by citing the values of voice, equity, and community.

February 23

On this day in 1868, W. E. B. Du Bois was born. He was a sociologist, historian, Pan-Africanist, author, and editor, was one of the co-founders of the NAACP in 1909 and the leader of the Niagara Movement. Discuss his birthday as another example of working for racial justice. Cite the values of equity and voice.

February 25

Tonight at 8pm ET, The NAACP Image Awards will “celebrate the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.” The event provides a prime-time opportunity to uplift the importance of cultural strategies and representation to achieving racial justice. Cite the values of voice and equity.

On this day in 1870 (150 years ago), Hiram Revels was sworn in as senator from Mississippi, becoming the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate. Revels is one of only 11 African Americans ever to have served in the United States Senate. Discuss this anniversary with the values of equity and voice.

February 27

On Feb. 27, 1973, members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) began their occupation of Wounded Knee, the site of the 1890 massacre in South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. The occupation lasted 71 days and called attention to living conditions and mistreatment from federal and local agencies. Use this anniversary to talk about the values of opportunity and voice for Native American communities.

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