Finding paths to equity, inclusion, and diversity requires a range of ongoing actions from inquiry to empathy to accountability—but the payoff is big: diversity makes for a vibrant and equitable shared experience. So much of the world has been diving into this work—and Whatcom County is celebrating this growth opportunity as well. Here are some local resources and virtual events where you can join others in finding strength in diversity in Whatcom County.
Check our Travel Advisory Page for current travel restrictions in Bellingham and Whatcom County including COVID-19 related guidelines.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Human Rights Virtual Conference, January 15-17, 2021
The Whatcom Human Rights Task Force (WHRTF) wants you to close your eyes and imagine a diverse and compassionate community where every person has access to justice and opportunity. Now open your eyes and join WHRTF for their 23rd Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Conference.
On April 3, 1968, Dr. King delivered his speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Less than 24 hours later he was assassinated. In honor of his work and speech, WHRTF has named this year’s theme “Recapturing the Revolutionary Spirit: Dangerous Unselfishness.” 50 years later, Whatcom County continues to come together to share and acknowledge the work of Dr. King.
This year’s conference will be hosted online starting Friday, January 15 through Sunday, January 17. The conference is free and will include a variety of performances, films, caucuses and workshops.
CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival Presents Unapologetic, January 15-16, 2021
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, CASCADIA and the Film Festival Alliance will present the documentary Unapologetic directed by Ashley O’Shay. Experience the tension and polarizing moments in Chicago’s fight for the livelihood of its Black residents and justice for Rekia Boyd and Laquan McDonald, two young Black people killed by Chicago police.
2021 Women of Color Speaker Series, January 21, 2021
The YWCA is excited to announce their 2021 Women of Color Speaker Series: Race and Gender in Whatcom County. This is a free four-part virtual series that will feature prominent women of color in Whatcom County, starting with Flo Simon, Interim Police Chief of the Bellingham Police Department.
Whatcom READS began 13 years ago as a way to encourage Whatcom County to read and discuss the same book. It is hosted by the public and academic libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County along with their community partner and locally owned bookstore, Village Books. This year, Whatcom READS has chosen Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.
Edugyan is a bestselling novelist from Canada who is known for her richly imagined and well researched stories focused around race and belonging. She is the third writer to win the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary award, TWICE.
Insider Tip: If you purchase Washington Black from Village Books, 10% of all sales will be donated to Whatcom READS for next year!
Washington Black Virtual Events
Angel in the Outhouse: Stories of the Civil Rights Movement with Kathya Alexander, January 23, 2021
Explore the theme of race and belonging with award-winning Seattle storyteller, Kathya Alexander.
Alexander will make history come alive through her stories of growing up in the segregated south. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to virtually relive the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of a 12-year-old “colored” girl.
Insider Tip: This event was made possible through Lift Every Voice, a year-long nationwide celebration of African American poetry. Signature events are happening in part with public libraries all over the United States including New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Let’s Talk About Race with Clyde Ford, January 25, 2021
Learn about race in modern-day America with local Bellingham author and professor, Clyde Ford. Ford taught “The Introduction to the African American Experience” at Western Washington University in Bellingham and is excited to lead a discussion for people of all races based on honest and transparent conversations.
African American Poetry, February 5, 2021
Discover 250 years of struggle and song through African American poetry with Dr. Bill Lyne, coordinator of African American studies at Western Washington University. Be a part of the conversation and help rise up and honor these voices.
Technology and Social Justice, February 11, 2021
Clyde Ford is back! Learn about Ford’s father, John Stanley Ford, and the struggles he faced as the first black software engineer in the United States. How can you advocate for human and civil rights in this modern technological era?
I’ll Fly Away: A Sojourn Through Poetry and Spirituals, February 25, 2021
What traditions helped as African Americans were transported from one continent to another? Enjoy and learn with award-winning poet and performer Gloria Burgess.
Insider Tip: This event was made possible through Lift Every Voice.
Escape to Bellingham with a Virtual Walking Tour: Exploring Systematic Racism
What can I do to get informed? Get engaged. Explore and learn about the history of Bellingham including Lummi Nation, treaties among Washington State’s tribes and the Pickett House, one of the oldest buildings in Bellingham.
Escape to Bellingham with the documentary: We Are Not Strangers
Learn about the fateful night of September 4, 1907 when more than 250 Indian men were driven out of their homes and what Satpal Singh Sidhu, the current Whatcom County Executive, thinks of these historic events.
Engage Through Cinema with the Pickford Film Center
More than movies! Dive into civil rights issues, police brutality, anti-racism practices and the experiences of black people in the United States.
The Pickford Film Center has organized ten documentaries and narrative films, on a variety of platforms, to help engage Whatcom County. Pickford’s film list includes The Black Power Mixtape 1967 – 1975, LA 92 and 13th.
Washington State’s Peace Arch Historical State Park was built in 1921 in Blaine Washington, located on the border of the United States and Canada. The park features 20-acres of gardens and flowers but the park’s main attraction is the 67-foot Peace Arch.
The Peace Arch was built to memorialize world peace and the end of the War of 1812. It now represents the longest undefended boundary in the world. Officially finished on September 8, 1921, this upcoming year will be the 100-year anniversary of the Peace Arch! There’s no better time to visit then to celebrate the centennial.
The Arch of Healing and Reconciliation, a 12-foot-high arch and made of ten tons of solid red granite from India, stands in Downtown Bellingham as a symbol of honor and remembrance for the contributions, sacrifices and bravery of Whatcom County’s immigrants from China, India and Japan.
Produced by The Children of the Setting Sun Productions, the Young and Indigenous Podcast features the voice of four Lummi Nation’s youth. In a venture to keep the origins of Lummis’ oral tradition alive, hear first-hand accounts of what it is like to be a tribal member from the Pacific Northwest in Bellingham, Washington.
The Whatcom Museum will be closed through Wednesday, January 13, or until further notice. The Museum store will remain open at 25% capacity,
Head to the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building to explore the history and art of the Northwest Coast people. People of the Sea and Cedar is a permanent exhibit inside the Lightcatcher building and features Coast Salish artwork and carvings as well as an interactive Lummi language display and videos showcasing Lummi and Nooksack weavers and carvers.
This winter the Museum will showcase photographs by Lummi photographer Jac Trautman, followed by an exhibition featuring the works of Tulalip and Swinomish member Matika Wilbur called “Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Voices of Native American Women,” in March.
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