To honor the achievements of Black Americans and all people of African descent in the United States, Black History Month is celebrated every February. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History named the theme of this year’s Black History Month as “Black Health and Wellness”, acknowledging the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing, such as birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, and herbalists, throughout the African Diaspora.
Burien City Council celebrates contributions of Black Americans to Burien community
On February 7, 2022, the Burien City Council issued a proclamation designating February 2022 as Black History Month in Burien. Hazel Valley Elementary School Assistant Principal Tamasha Emedi was present to accept the proclamation.
In January 2022, the City of Burien partnered with Highline Public Schools to support the installation of a mural at Hazel Valley Elementary recognizing the Black Lives Matter movement and to further increase Black representation in art.
Accepting the proclamation, Emedi stated, “It’s an honor to speak in front of you all today as a Black, queer woman and child of an immigrant. I’ve spent my entire educational career in this geographical space. My goal will never be to speak on behalf of those identities I listed, but instead, to speak authentically from my valid lived experience in this body, in our space.”
“I can’t help but see my community, my family, my students, and myself when I hear the language used in today’s proclamation – my school, Hazel Valley, and school district, called out. I’ve had the honor and privilege to be a critical piece of the work for the art installment on our building. I’ve also supported the adoptions of Instruction on Race and Identity, both in my building and across the district.”
Emedi concluded, “I have such a deep pride in my Black identity. My Burundi identity, the Congolese identity of my siblings and the Nigerian identity of my cousins. I hope I’m living that pride authentically in a way that not only Black students and families witness, but also families of color and families historically marginalized by a system I am a part of.”
More ways to celebrate, reflect, and support
Visit the museum
Stop by Highline Heritage Museum to check out the “In Her Shoes” exhibit, which runs through the month of February. The exhibit features stories of Black women who made a significant historical impact, curated by Lake Burien Presbyterian Church congregants and Highline area community members.
If you’re not able to make it to the museum, they have a virtual program in collaboration with the African-American Writers’ Alliance which features a new profile every day in February of early 19th century Black Washingtonians.
Use your library card
Explore the 2022 Black History Month theme, “Black Health and Wellness”, by reading books featuring “resilience, joy and embracing ancestral rituals, traditions and healing modalities”. King County Library System has curated a list of 26 books you can check out now in multiple formats, including eBooks and audiobooks.
Support local businesses
Follow the City of Burien’s economic development team on Facebook and Instagram as they profile local Black-owned businesses right here in Burien. Support local and discover great places to eat, shop, and even get your taxes done.