Black History Month: Reflecting beyond February
- Posted on February 27, 2023
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Celebrating Black History Month this year has been an experience that has further connected the many communities here at Avanade while allowing us to celebrate our progress and act as one. Led by Avanade’s INSPIRE Black Employee Network, celebrations occurred in each region within North America. From West to East, South to North, our vision was to share stories and connect as a multifaceted community.
We kicked off Black History Month with a blog that spoke on the importance of this month’s celebrations with senior leaders Courtnye Dunn and Rickardo Carrington. From there, our Black Executive leaders gathered for an event and spoke on their experiences while highlighting the importance of allyship.
“Ally is a verb – not a noun,” Chief I&D Officer Hallam Sargeant shared during the event, “We need to be active in our allyship and not passive and focus on taking action.”
Here at Avanade, our culture sets us apart. Through our people-first approach, we create distinctive experiences and realize results for our employees. One key framework we use to accomplish this is through our Principles and Habits, which ground our culture and allow us to succeed both collectively and individually. By committing to living with a growth mindset and supporting our people, we create a people-first community. This is the essence of INSPIRE's mission and purpose.
Back in December, we introduced INSPIRE's new Co-Chairs for FY23, Dikasse Zalla and DJ Sharp, in our kickoff post. In an interview, Dikasse and DJ reflected on the legacy of INSPIRE as well as the strategic goals for the Employee Network. Their goals are to empower and grow membership at INSPIRE fivefold by focusing on fostering a strong sense of community and enabling success within membership via increased promotion rates, certifications, and representation within senior and executive levels across the company. Through INSPIRE’s work across the organization for Black History Month, we strive to create the future, inspire greatness
, and accelerate impact.
Now that Black History Month has come to an end, let us think on what is next. Because of the significance of the topic, we believe Black history should not be limited to a month-long observance. Rather, we should all treat this history as relevant throughout the year. Consider this the start of an opportunity to dig deeper and learn beyond what INSPIRE presented throughout the month of February. Treat each day as a new chance to celebrate the diverse stories connected to Black history. These stories, if consumed with an open mind, have the power to unite us and bring clarity as to why our society functions as it does.
In addition, the commemoration of Black history is global history. It is a history belongs to all of us. Do not make the mistake of seeing Black history as a siloed event impacting only Black and African American communities. Take the time and you will find that it’s a history that connects us all, regardless of cultural or socioeconomic background. Each and every one of us has been shaped and impacted by key figures and communities within Black history, and their sacrifices and achievements have lasting resonance.
Knowing this, we also encourage you to take practical actions in keeping Black history alive.
In the United States, there have been deliberate attacks to restructure and limit how this history is taught in schools. Last year, Georgia lawmakers enacted a law designed in part to curb discussions about race in classrooms, limiting teachers’ ability to present a comprehensive view of Black history. Other states have considered – or already implemented – similarly restrictive measures. If history is not taught to the upcoming generations, they will struggle to understand America’s present state and why race functions the way it does. We believe to truly understand a nation’s current state, it is imperative that we look to the past.
For these reasons, we urge each and every one of you to take action. Wherever you are located, get involved in your local community. Expand and challenge your thinking while going about your daily life. Education is critical now more than ever, and each of us have the ability to be a growth-minded learner and get involved.
With this in mind, how will you choose to commemorate Black history beyond February?