Black History Month Celebration in Mass. Honors African American Pioneers

March 15, 2013

BOSTON - Last month, more than 100 people attended a Black History Month celebration at the 1199SEIU Massachusetts union hall in honor of African American pioneers and their contributions. The event was hosted by the 1199SEIU African American Caucus.

The event started off with a rousing speech by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who made a surprise visit to the celebration to speak with the crowd about the work she’s done in Washington so far on behalf of Massachusetts’ voters. Boston City Councilors Charles Yancey and Tito Jackson were also in attendance.

After Warren’s speech, six teens, all members of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, gave a rousing rendition of Maya Angelou’s famed poem, Still I rise.

A large buffet was served and while participants ate, two AFRAM members spoke about the lives of Elijah Muhammed, a religious leader in the Nation of Islam, and Medger Evers, a civil rights activist.

Vaughn Goodwin, an 1199SEIU staff member, discussed the importance of the Emancipation Proclamation, the executive order by former President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago that freed slaves in the United States.

At the end of the night, several exciting games of bingo were played by union members. Several prizes were given out, including cash, a $25 movie gift card, and a basket filled with 1199SEIU items.

“Our gathering was eye opening to me. It showed me how far we as Black people have grown secure of our heritage and become pillars in our community. We are leaders,” said Gertrude Joseph, an 1199SEIU member at Boston Medical Center who attended the event.