SCSEP Participants Reflect on Black History Month

Black History Month

Several SCSEP (Senior Community Service Employment Program) participants were asked to express their points of view on Black History Month. These SCSEP jobseekers are on an amazing journey to finding their dream job. Please keep reading for their thoughtful and insightful commentary.

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Juliet CeesayJuliet Ceesay has worked with JCA SHIP. Effective February 20th, Juliet is a part-time employee of JCA working as Data Program Coordinator in our SCSEP office.


Black History Month 2023 represents for me progress in leadership roles amongst Black women in America – several Black Mayors and a Black Vice President.  Over the past 60 years of being a Black Immigrant in America, I have learned the history of Black Americans since the days of slavery, the days of the civil rights movement, a Black President, the fragmentation and destruction of the black family, black lives matter in America, and I keep wondering if the black and white race will one day unite.  Instead, I see more separation, division, and hatred among each other.

The world is fast becoming a global community, and the Blacks in America continue to be left behind, seeking to be equal among their peers. The talents, not just in sports or entertainment but also in science and other areas, must be utilized if the US is to keep pace with the rest of the world, especially Asia.

As a baby boomer, I have a dream, too, that as we enter the 21st Century, generations to come will recognize that we are all part of the one human race, uniting together as a community and a nation of different races to make America great again.  No longer will there be a black and white nation, but a nation where men/women of all races are treated equally with respect and dignity.

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Kathaleen ManeyKathaleen Maney, Works at Global Necessity


Black History Is a Valid Part of American History

Black History and the study thereof teach us about the life, struggle, achievement, setback, and resilience of enslaved African people in America from the 17th to the 21st Century.  It is very often an uncomfortable, soul-wrenching flashback in history that is disturbing to assimilate because our ancestors were brought to America in chains.  The capture, transport, auction, and ownership of a people, labeled as property for the sake of economic profit, political gain, societal gain, and pleasure of their owners, is extremely arduous for the descendants of Africans to come to terms with.  As is the indifference displayed by the United States of America and the descendants of slave owners who enjoyed the wealth, luxury, and comfortable livelihood that was passed down to them via the existence of an atrocious brand of commerce.

African Americans fought and died for freedom and equality.  After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, we have made lasting contributions to Industry, Science, Education, Pastor Ship, Medicine, Judiciary, Politics, Armed Forces & Military Intelligence, Journalism, Music, Art, Fashion, Sports, Entrepreneurism, Cable Network, Radio Broadcast, Literature, Engineering, Information Technology, Theatre, Dance, Movies, Production, Directing, and Stand-Up Comedy.  We deserve a place of prominence in American history without apology for celebrations honoring our heritage and heroes. (E.g., MLK’s Birthday and Juneteenth)

Our faith in, and worship of, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have made us true survivors.  Through God, we are victorious! He carries us over mountains of hopelessness and despair.  He hears our prayers and leads us through insidious trials.  He sees that we are disenfranchised by unrighteous laws and covers us with blessing and favor.  We can trust our God.

 … Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s – 2 Chronicles 20:15

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Clarence MorrisClarence Morris, Works for JCA SCSEP


Struggles of Black History Today

Black History is a powerful reminder of the resilience and strength Of African Americans in spite of the hardships along the way. We must continue to honor our past and use it to inform our future. We must also continue to fight for justice and equality and use our collective power to create a more equitable and just society, as well as use our stories to empower future generations. This includes fighting for racial, economic, and social justice. It also includes advocating for better healthcare, education, and employment opportunities and digging deep to end police brutality and mass incarceration as well as end systemic racism.

Today my focus is on the importance of optimism for a better future and the courage and strength it takes to keep hope alive through the difficult times that I face here in 2023. Past criminal records are a major obstacle to gaining employment and other opportunities for African Americans and all with criminal records.

We need to implement a more nuanced approach to these issues, ensuring that African Americans and all with past criminal records can rehabilitate and move on from past mistakes as well as gain access to resources and opportunities.

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Jan BrownJan Brown, Works for Silver Spring Regional Center


Richard Allen, a former slave who bought his freedom for $2,000, moved from Maryland to Philadelphia. He was born on February 14, 1760. Richard Allen became a minister, educator, writer, and one of America’s most active and influential Black leaders.

He founded Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). This was the first independent Black denomination in the United States.  The church was built from an old blacksmith shop, which he purchased and moved to sixth and Lombard Streets in Philadelphia and built a church.

Bethel AME continues Richard Allen’s work, legacy, freedom of religion, and place for all to worship.

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Patricia CurtisPatricia Curtis, Works for Adventist Community Services


This is my thoughts on Black History for 2023. It is that we have reached a plateau of governing the United States from several offices. We had a black President, a Black Vice Present, and Now a Black Governor in Maryland… With the leadership that we have had and continue to have, our country should grow gracefully. Black History should be practiced every month of the year… Let us put prayers back in school and in our lives. Please move on to become a better nation. Thank you.