February 29, 2024

During Black History Month,  Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF)  is committed to elevating the voices, experiences, and perspectives of Club members, staff, and communities. Throughout February, our Clubs across the City celebrated the contributions and achievements of Black Leaders, both past and present.  

Our largest celebration was hosted by our Willie Mays Clubhouse at Hunters Point and featured opening remarks by District Supervisor Shamann Walton, youth performances, healing arts activities, and delicious food. Over 100 members from Carver Elementary School Club, Malcolm X Academy Club, Sunnydale Club, and Visitacion Valley Club participated.  Families and community members were also in attendance.

Thank you to Comcast and New York Life Foundation for sponsoring this impactful event. Check out the full photo album here.
In addition to events and special programming, BGCSF recognizes the impact of heritage months by publishing reflections on identity and culture from our staff.

A Personal Reflection on Black History Month

By Senior Vice President of Club Services, Harold Love

"As we conclude the 2024 Black History Month season, I am filled with gratitude for the immeasurable legacies and achievements of my culture. Like every year, it is a great reminder that my heritage is the birthplace for many of the ideas and innovations that have molded and continue to shape the fabric and future of this nation. It also just further affirms that “There is no skin that I would rather be in”. 

A year ago, my Black History Month post was about getting Black/African American folks to understand how much power there is and how much pride we should have in being Black/African American. Click here to read my 2023 BHM reflection. 

This year I decided to take a more interconnected and holistic perspective; starting off with a macro explanation of the history of this noteworthy month, next sharing my maturation journey as I grow into being an Elder in my culture, and, lastly, my hopes for society in 2024 as we strive to create equity, particularly as it relates to the Black/African American experience.   

History

The origins of Black History Month can be traced back to the efforts of Carter G. Woodson in 1915. In an effort to distill it down to its simplest form for this post, the month serves several important purposes:

  • It a platform to educate and raise awareness about the overlooked or marginalized contributions to history, culture, and society made by Black/African American people.
  • It offers an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the artistic expressions, scientific advancements, social movements, and other significant contributions made by Black/African American leaders.
  • It inspires and empowers future generations (specifically Black/African American youth) to embrace their history and potential; fostering a greater sense of self pride and motivation.

“Uncle Harold”

Elders are traditionally seen as wise, respected individuals who play a vital role in guiding and supporting the younger generations. These days I am affectionately referred to as “Uncle Harold” by many of my Black/African American work colleagues. It is a term of endearment that I embrace and understand comes with immense responsibilities. As I continue to mature into “Elderhood”; among other things, I am humbly bound to… 

  • Provide support, care, guidance, and mentorship based on my experiences and lessons learned over the years (I’ve got lots of stories Y’all)
  • Advocate for justice, equality, and positive change in society by using my influence and experience to address issues of importance 
  • Lead by example, promote values such as love, respect, honesty, integrity, and compassion, and uphold high moral and ethical standards for others to follow

My Hopes for 2024 

Every year the question remains the same: How do we ensure that all humans, particularly Black/African American people, are represented, valued, respected, and empowered to thrive and succeed in all aspects of life? It is my hope that…

  • All people are treated with fairness, equality, and dignity. This includes equal access to opportunities, resources, and rights without facing discrimination or systemic barriers.
  • Academic achievement is prioritized for all students. — This means positive learning/classroom environments, quality and nurturing educators, and meaningful learning opportunities tailored to student interests and that are strength-based
  • Unfettered access to social/emotional/wellness supports – addressing health disparities and promoting mental health awareness is made available to those who need it the most
  • We  build authentic allyships,  with the aim of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion so that all races, ethnicities, and genders truly feel like they belong.

I believe that if we can conceive this; we can achieve this. But it all starts with us working collectively to create a more just world where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

=============================================================================================================

Black History Month is one of the many cultural and identity-based celebrations we recognize throughout the year.

Give Today!

Donate Now

More Stories

Learn more about the happenings at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco.
Staff Spotlight: Heidi Coffer, CFO & SVP of Finance

We are pleased to highlight a member of our Senior Leadership Team, Heidi Coffer. Hedi has served the BGCSF community since 1997. As CFO and SVP of Finance, Heidi is in charge of all financial aspects of the organization.

Tour Our New Clubhouse

This holiday season, we are pleased to share an exciting update that is rooted in the gratitude, joy, and optimism that defines this time of year at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF). 

A Message of Gratitude

A letter of gratitude from BGCSF President, Rob Connolly, to all supporters.