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Yolo County sponsors weekly virtual discussions, screenings of documentary “The Cost of Darkness” hosted by activist Sandy Holman

Yolo County Library has hosted several events for Black History Month

By LEVI GOLDSTEIN city@theaggie.org

During the month of February, which is Black History Month, Friends of the Davis Public Library, Yolo County Library and the Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency are jointly sponsoring a series of virtual discussions and viewings of ”The Cost of Darkness,” a documentary that reveals the depths of white supremacy and systemic racism in America. The series, hosted Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., was announced in a Yolo County press release published on Jan. 26. 

The Cost of Darkness” was created by the organization The Culture C.O.-O.P. to “envision strategies for interventions and impact from a holistic and systemic perspective,” according to their website

The Culture C.O.-O.P.’s founder and host of the discussions, Sandy Holman, is an activist, educator and author. She also founded The Culture C.O.-O.P.’s sister organization, United in Unity

Holman is faithful that “The Cost of Darkness” will play an important role in the fight for racial justice. 

“The documentary is part of a paradigm for transforming individuals, communities, systems and beyond,” Holman said. “The goal is ultimately to create a mindshare among people so they understand root causes and historical happenings and structures that have built what we’re seeing today.”

The discussion series is serving as a training. Employees of the Health & Human Services Agency and other organizations are receiving professional development credit for attending, according to Katrina Laws-Ewald, a Youth Services Librarian of the Mary L. Stephens Branch of the Yolo County Library. However, the series is open to the public as well, and Holman believes that it is valuable for all.

“When individuals are exposed to the true information and the root causes of what we’re experiencing in each of our institutions, they’re often more likely to come up with better interventions and strategies,” Holman said. 

Holman intends for the film to be just one part of the education that The Culture C.O.-O.P. provides and prepares citizens to advocate for systemic change. 

“It may be tough, […] but it’s the foundation of being able to be more strategic in our policy making, our interventions, our strategies,” Holman said.

Yolo County Library, eager to host these events, is fully invested in acting as a center for cultural education. 

“I’m part of the Black History Month work group,” Laws-Ewald said. “The Black History Month group is basically creating content or activities or advertising to celebrate that heritage.”

The non-profit organization Friends of the Davis Public Library, one sponsor of the program, is also highly involved. According to their website, they “make substantial donations to the library […] [to] ​develop the Library’s book collection, encourage reading programs for children, and to promote the Library as a cultural center for the city of Davis.”

“It creates a unity within the community,” Rory Osborne, president of the organization, said. “It provides a place where people come together and have dialogue. […] You have opportunities for kids to come together to learn about things they have no experience in prior to that, and in doing so they integrate with other children from around the community.”

Funding for donations comes from regular book sales events and Logos Books, a non-profit bookstore in downtown Davis, according to Osborne.

The Yolo County Library also published a list of books with Black authors and stories representing Black youth, according to Laws-Ewald. The Library has chosen the book “We All Have A Heritage” written by Holman as this month’s Dial-A-Story reading. Families with young children can call (530) 298-9990 to listen to an audio recording of the story in Spanish, read by Ruby Buentello, the outreach and programming librarian, or in English, read by Tessa Smith, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator with Yolo County. 

Smith and Buentello both attend the discussion series as facilitators. Those who are interested in attending can find the Zoom links in the press release, on the Yolo County Library’s website or on The Culture C.O.-O.P.’s website. 

Written by: Levi Goldstein — city@theaggie.org

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