Black History Month: Stronger together
- Posted on February 28, 2022
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
We recognized Black History Month with a variety of events and initiatives here at Avanade, one of which was a month-long collaboration between two of our Employee Networks. INSPIRE, our Black Employee network and AWEN, our Women’s Employee Network, came together to celebrate 21 Black "sheroes" – Black women from around the world who have made a genuine human impact in their communities.
Every week during the month of February, a new group of “sheroes” was added to an internal page put together by the two groups. Each woman had a card sharing a little bit about them, what they achieved and how they inspired others along the way.
We chatted with Floydine Fitzgerald, AWEN Board Operations Chair and Morgan Stewart, INSPIRE Events Committee Member, to learn more about this initiative and what they learned from the experience. Kristi Pagoulatos, AWEN Member and Creative Designer who developed the cards, also shared her perspective.
- How did this idea come about and how did you determine which Black women to highlight?
Floydine: AWEN was looking for an opportunity to celebrate and highlight the intersectionality between the two Employee Networks. As a Black woman, and a member of both groups, I thought what a great opportunity to celebrate the contributions of Black women throughout history and their impact to society. We chose these women because of their incredible stories, but also because of their lesser-known status in the history books. Everyone knows Rosa Parks and all her glory, but few have heard of Claudette Colvin who refused to give up her seat and was arrested in Montgomery, AL nine months before the infamous Rosa Parks arrest.
Morgan: AWEN reached out to INSPIRE to collaborate for Black History Month and we were able to put our heads together to create an insightful list of Black women who have made their mark in history.
- It’s great to see two of our employee networks come together to collaborate on activities like this. Why do you think it’s important for different groups to work together and support each other’s initiatives?
Floydine: Working together provides an opportunity for interactions between individuals who may not have worked together otherwise, opportunities for exposure to varying perspectives. It highlights intersectionality and how we are all dependent upon each other.
Morgan: The network that is created when two Employee Networks come together is very powerful. It provides space for different perspectives to be shared as well as learning opportunities for both groups.
- What is something you learned through this collaboration?
Floydine: I knew all the US women however I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the contributions of the Black women outside of the US.
Morgan: I learned that Jean Augustine is the reason Canadians celebrate Black History Month every February.
Kristi: The list of women put forward for this collaboration was AMAZING. I love that we showcased women from all over the globe as well as different women than the typical list people may already know about. Just learning about each of these women was a blessing, so I feel that the collaboration brought a richer experience for everyone. The different Employee Network’s perspectives allowed us to provide a deeper level of achievement for Avanade as a whole.
- If you had to pick just one, which of the incredible Black women highlighted throughout this program inspired or resonated with you the most and why?
Floydine: I absolutely love Queen Nanny of the Maroons. I most admired her leadership and strategic mind. She successfully led a community of formerly enslaved Africans against the British forcing a peace treaty.
Morgan: Ida B. Wells who was an American investigative journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Not only would it be nice to meet a fellow Chicagoan, but I would like to hear how she found the strength to lead an anti-lynching movement as a black woman in the 1890s.
Kristi: I want to choose them all! I am truly thankful I got to be a part of this because I learned so much representing these women visually. I am drawn to Marian Wright Edelman. She just radiates vibrancy and approached each of her achievements in a smart and thoughtful way.