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Awareness, Celebration and Change: Black History Month

Often, it is pondered why history months exist, either as a celebration or awareness day or month. The response is often, “I know about this, why do I need a reminder every year?”. The purpose of awareness campaigns are to educate individuals and create a public awareness to those who might not otherwise have been exposed to the depth of a cause or movement. Today is the first of February and the start of Black History Month. We know what has happened in the past 12 months, having brought us to a precipice and time of reckoning with our nation’s repeated failure to support our Black community.

Black history is more than remembering the legacy of slavery. It’s more than the defining acts of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglas, Malcolm X, and Harriett Tubman. It’s about continuously fighting systemic racism, police brutality and the deep divide of equality and equity for people in our country who are Black and/or of African ancestry.

It is also an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of this community while acknowledging and rectifying our country’s history of atrocities against African Americans. So while we honor and learn about Black Americans, bringing to light the Black women and men who made our country what it is - the scientists, engineers, authors, inventors and innovators who turned industries on their heads - we also have the opportunity appreciate the history that is being made by people like Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Minda Harts, Jericho Brown and Amanda Gorman, and so many more.

And while a single month (and a notably short one at that) cannot fully encompass all that needs to be discussed, learned and more importantly, unlearned, we believe these all must be done daily and consciously.

Whether it’s Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, Equal Pay Day(s), or even Mental Health Awareness Month, at RISEQUITY we are not about checking a box. We discuss topics and approaches that are provocative, might make you uncomfortable and present things you will want to hear. All this is done while sharing resources for self-education that promote difficult conversations from which we can grow, and opportunities to create equitable change in basic fundamentals that compose the moral compass of humans.

This month, we launched RISEQUITY’s Inclusion Groups Forum. Our monthly forum is an open conversation where Inclusion Group, also known as Employee Resource Groups, Business Resource Groups, and Affinity Group leaders are encouraged to join, share, ideate, grow and share best practices for creating sustainable change in the workplace and beyond. This promotes connections with leaders doing similar work from a variety of companies in small group breakout sessions. This forum is in addition to our monthly Senior Diversity Leader Forum, with sessions for CDOs, C-Suite Leaders and Senior Diversity Leaders.




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