Category Archives: Meeting notices

Meeting of February 11, 2019 – Celebrating Black History Month

February 2019 Meeting – Celebrating Black History Month

February is 2019 Black History Month, and in celebration, the Progressive Democrats of Benicia honored local African-Americans for their service and dedication to our local communities. The Club met on Monday, Feb. 11 at 7:00 pm in the Benicia Library’s Dona Benicia Room.

During the meeting four women were honored and shared some of their thoughts about Black History Month:

  • Honorable Terrye D. Davis, Judge, Solano Superior Court
  • Viola Robertson, Exec. Dir., Benicia Community Action Council
  • Dr. Zoee Bartholomew, Ed.D., Commissioner, Benicia Open Government Commission and
  • Novanna (Vonnie) Hunt, Board Member, Benicia Human Services Board.

Gethsemane Moss and K. Patrice Williams moderated the program. Ms. Moss is an Educator and member of the Benicia Arts and Culture Commission, and Ms. Williams is the Founder and President Emeritus of the Solano/Napa Chapter, BWOPA, Black Women Organized for Political Action.

“The Progressive Democrats of Benicia are honored to bring attention to the accomplishments of these African-American women, local women, and to celebrate their longstanding service to our communities,” said Moss and Williams. “We hope they’ll share with us their thoughts on Black History month and what it means to them.”

Black Migrations is the theme for Black History Month 2019. In reading about the theme, “I found that it refers not only to the historical movement of blacks from the American South to the industrialized North, but also to later 20th century movements,” said Ralph Dennis, Chair of Progressive Democrats of Benicia.

Recent migration trends include those from the Caribbean nations into the U.S. and the return of Northern African-Americans to the U.S. South, to cities such as Atlanta and Houston, in search of jobs and better pay.  Gentrification of inner city neighborhoods and re-suburbanization are other examples.

The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History Week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures. Mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week.

By the late 1960s, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.

In addition to the Black History program, the meeting included a short discussion on the latest developments to create a Solano Regional Park District, with expectations of a report and implementation plan from the County to be issued soon.

Meeting of January 8, 2019

Progressive Democrats of Benicia met on Tuesday evening, January 8, 2019 at 7pm. On the agenda for this meeting was election of PDB officers and discussion of activities for PDB in the coming months and seeking ideas from members.

MEETING LOCATION: Casa de Vilarrasa, 383 East I Street, Benicia, (corner of East I and East 4th Streets).  The room is called the Garden Room.



December 14, 2018


It’s time to start the New Year off right – with the first 2019 PDB meeting! At the top of your 2019 to-do list, I am sure.

Well, ready or not, our next meeting is scheduled:

January 8th  7:00pm
The Garden Room
383 Casa Vilarassa (corner of East I Street and East 4th).

The Agenda for the evening will include:

  • Election of PDB officers.
  • Mimosa Montag, Vallejo-Benicia Indivisible for Justice. Indivisible 2.0 for 2019.
  • PDB planning for 2019 actions/meetings.
    • Benicia visit by Cong. Mike Thompson (co-sponsors)
    • Community air monitoring (expand info/awareness)
    • Recruiting women for public office: commissions and boards, gender parity in CA Legislature…. International Women’s Day, March 8.
    • Ideas from members

For those of you who were in on the beginning of PDB, we had our first public meeting on August 27, 2017 at the Garden Room, where we will be on January 8, 2019. It’s nice to revisit old roots, and many thanks to charter PDB member June Mejias for making the arrangements, then and now.

Don’t forget, PDB annual dues are payable in January of each year, that means you can pay your 2019 dues as you come to the Jan. 8 meeting. How convenient!!!

Hope to see you on Jan. 8. By the way, seating space in the Garden Room is about one-half the space we have had at the Library. A word to the wise….

As always, thoughts and suggestions are encouraged, and please visit your PDB web site at

Ralph Dennis, Chair

PDB Meeting, November 13

General meeting of November 13, 7:00 p.m., at the Benicia Library, Dona Benicia room

Message from Ralph Dennis, Chair, November 9, 2018:

Members and Friends –

Our next meeting, and the last one for this year, is Nov. 13 at 7:00 pm, Benicia Library.   (Agenda)

Following the Club reports and related items, we’ll be discussing:

  • Elections: The Nov. 6 election results – local and national races. What happened, and what do we make of it all, in particular locally? (What’s it all about, Alfie?)
  • PDB in 2019: ideas and activities for PDB, beginning in January (then, to space and infinity, and beyond). Ok, enough song and movie references. Maybe we all needed a bit of brevity?

Both discussions are intended to be open with the audience. In fact, we hope to draw future meeting agendas from the comments and ideas provided by the members present. As well as hear any thoughts about how the Club did in 2018, suggestions, and especially anything we should be doing differently and better.

During the discussion of elections, we’ll also provide a summary of the Club’s process for election of its officers, which is scheduled for Jan. 2019 and is required by our bylaws.

As for what there is to say about the elections, we can at least vent some more – the PAC money intervention, the outrageous and nonstop and largely orchestrated comments on social media. But, that can help identify areas to address for the future – 2020, as is already started to happen. As a member recently expressed, “Heaven help us in 2020!” And, as I shared in a recent Benicia Resist! post, “If a progressive runs in 2020, you better have your own PAC.” Not to sling mud, but to counter the volume of stuff we saw on digital ads and through the postal mail. Counter, but remaining positive and on point.

This is an important meeting, as we’re talking about 2019 and how PDB should spend our time. We plan on continuing meetings every 4-5 weeks, maybe in the Library as we have mostly done of late, but maybe elsewhere (which would be less costly or even free). When you come, you can be part of the decision making as we plan out 2019, and ultimately get closer to 2020 races.

See you Tuesday, Nov. 13, Benicia Library, 7:00 pm. Be there or be square!

Ralph E. Dennis
Chair, Progressive Democrats of Benicia