A crowd of masked community members gathered at the Old Town Gazebo in Eureka today for a celebration of Black culture and history hosted by the Humboldt County Black Music and Arts Association (HCBMAA).

The event was a part of HCBMAA’s Harambee Liberation Month, which focuses on community organization and cooperation. Starting at 10:00 a.m., today’s event included speeches by BIPOC members of the community, prayers and performances of spoken word, dance and music

“I am no longer doubting what I bring to the table,” said HCBMAA intern Andrea Jones said to the crowd. “…I am going to start acknowledging my place, my worth and my ability to increase culture identity. Because community isn’t about tearing each other down, it’s about lifting each other up and coming out and speaking out when the time is needed…HCBMAA gave me the strength to feel comfortable with being different and allowing myself to shine in my own unique way.”

Many other speakers talked about the importance of increasing education around Black history, in our school’s and as individuals. Among the speakers were a group of high school students from the St. Bernard’s Academy in Eureka, who are are starting Black student union to help provide opportunities for education and celebration around Black history and culture.

Dominic Kofi and other students from St. Bernard’s Academy

“Together we will strive to provide opportunities for our students of all races to celebrate Black culture, lifestyle and history,” St. Bernard’s student Dominic Kofi to the crowd. “We hope to accomplish goals that will benefit us all. Through the spirit of cooperation we will enrich the lives of students, faculty, staff and the community at large.”

After the many speeches and performances, a small crowd marched to the Humboldt County Courthouse at about 1:00 p.m., where they placed flowers and candles on the courthouse steps, in memory of lives lost. 

Scroll down to see more photos of today’s event. You can also find many videos of today’s speakers and performers on HC Black Music and Arts Association’s Facebook Page.

Pastor Heidi Messner hosted a prayer during the event

Performance by the Leti Love Singers

Spoken word performer AJ