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February is black history month. Unfortunately, black history is too often overlooked and misunderstood. No doubt many of you took history classes in school that barely touched on the subject of black history in any meaningful way. At Contra Costa Senior Legal Services, we celebrate black history month as it provides an opportunity to empower ourselves with knowledge and fight back against the stereotypes and misconceptions that harm many people in our community.

This month, we should all remember that the subject of black history can encompass not just the history of black people in the United States. In all corners of the world, from Brazil, to France, to Somalia, persons of African descent have played an important role in shaping history. We can better understand how racism and oppression persist in our community if we educate ourselves about this history.

Let’s take this opportunity to educate ourselves and be inspired to continue to learn about black history year-round. Black history is full of wonderful stories and there are many ways of engaging with this topic. Not only can you pick up a book to learn something about black history, you can try watching a film, listening to music, or even view art as a way of learning about this fascinating, and very diverse, subject.

At CCSLS, we recognize how the legacies of slavery, segregation, and colonialism continue to impact the lives of many of our clients. Many in our community continue to suffer the effects of this long history of discrimination and oppression. CCSLS is dedicated to supporting those clients by empowering them to assert their right to protection against elder abuse, housing discrimination, and consumer exploitation.