Sunday, March 3, 2024

Huntington Seaside to take away Black Historical past Month from its calendar

February’s metropolis theme for Huntington Seaside will probably be “We Love Our Libraries” in 2024, whereas town will make no point out of Black Historical past Month.

In June, town theme will probably be targeted on the historical past of Independence Day, however the metropolis won’t be recognizing (LGBTQ+) Delight Month.

The Metropolis Council voted 4-3 on Tuesday night time to approve a 12-month calendar that can see every month devoted to a particular theme however would take away different acquainted months from the popularity checklist.

The merchandise, launched by Mayor Gracey Van Der Mark, Mayor Professional Tem Pat Burns and Councilman Casey McKeon, states that it’s designed to honor the wealthy historic heritage of the nation, state and Surf Metropolis itself. Every month’s theme will spotlight important occasions, landmarks and influential figures.

Tony Strickland voted to approve the merchandise, whereas Dan Kalmick, Natalie Moser and Rhonda Bolton all voted “no.”

McKeon stated that over the previous yr, metropolis archivist and historian Kathie Schey has despatched him about 20 chronological photographs of the historical past of Huntington Seaside that he has hanging in his council workplace.

“Myself, as a third-generation Huntington Seaside resident, I’ve simply been amazed to learn the way a lot of our wealthy historical past that I used to be unaware of, and I can solely think about that almost all of our residents are unaware of as effectively,” McKeon stated. “That was basically the genesis for this calendar of traditionally themed months … the month-to-month celebrations 1703181810 are fragmented, inconsistent and comparatively unorganized inside the departments.”

However Schey, earlier within the assembly throughout public feedback, stated she can be resigning because the chair of the historic sources board and as member of the design evaluate board in protest of the merchandise. One other seven- to nine-member committee can be created to resolve the calendar of occasions for every year, which she noticed as usurping the facility of the historic sources board.

“I feel it’s a reasonably thinly veiled, stinging vote of no confidence each in my position as a historian and management of the historic sources board,” Schey stated. “The members of that board embody a historical past professor, two historical past authors, two of the great-grandsons of our first mayor … and that is unfair to them.”

The merchandise states the committee may very well be assisted by the historic sources board or metropolis workers, as wanted. McKeon stated the board was not consulted earlier than the merchandise was placed on the agenda, although he did have a dialog with Schey over the weekend.

Month-to-month themes for 2024, as proposed and amended Tuesday, embody celebrating town’s origins and remembrance of the Holocaust in January, California’s historical past in March and the historical past of Huntington Seaside’s railroad in April. However the merchandise additionally states that any earlier month-to-month themes or celebrations permitted by earlier Metropolis Councils can be repealed and outmoded.

An oil well.

Non-operational oil wells are pictured within the parking zone of the Huntington Seaside Civic Heart earlier this yr. Below the brand new coverage, October’s theme may very well be “Black Gold Jubilee: Honoring the Discovery of Oil.”

(Scott Smeltzer / Every day Pilot)

These federally acknowledged celebrations embody Black Historical past Month, Ladies’s Historical past Month in March and Delight Month in June, amongst others. Could is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, and Hispanic Heritage Month runs from mid-September to mid-October.

The merchandise states that the brand new Huntington Seaside celebrations are supposed to be “freed from any id politics and political agendas.”

Kalmick questioned each the merchandise itself and why the beforehand permitted celebrations should be disregarded.

“This isn’t public coverage,” he stated. “That is an Eagle Scout undertaking. That is what all of us discovered in fourth grade and tenth grade and eleventh grade. I do apologize for those who didn’t know a few of these issues; quite a lot of of us on the town do … So, February of 2024 we’re not going to rejoice Black Historical past Month. Why not?”

McKeon stated the earlier themed months may very well be added again in future years.

“That is meant to be a enjoyable train that brings the group collectively,” he stated. “You’re completely over-complicating it.”

Moser, who has a bachelor’s diploma in historical past from Cal State Lengthy Seaside, stated that presenting a complete historic narrative is advanced, and he or she cautioned in opposition to over-simplification or inadvertent sanitizing of the previous.

“I really like historical past and I need us to know extra about historical past, [but] our quick position as council members is to prioritize the wants of the group that instantly impression them,” she stated.

Don Han is the director of group partnerships for Groundswell, previously often called OC Human Relations. He stated he had been working to help the Huntington Seaside Human Relations Job Drive/Committee, which the council voted to ax over the summer season, since 2005.

“It’s form of disheartening to see that the nationally acknowledged heritage months are being faraway from town of Huntington Seaside,” Han stated Wednesday. “The historical past of Huntington Seaside is the historical past of those individuals. If Huntington Seaside needs to proceed to rejoice its variety, it has to embrace and be inclusive of all individuals, in order that they really feel that they belong. Eradicating the Black Historical past Month celebration, think about for those who determine as a Black particular person in that group, to see your metropolis’s elected officers say, ‘We’re not going to acknowledge you and your historical past.’ That may be disheartening.”

State Sen. Dave Min additionally launched a press release that was extremely essential of the merchandise.

Burns stated that the federally acknowledged months had been already well-known and being celebrated.

“Simply not in Huntington Seaside,” Kalmick stated.

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