Be a Pillar: Celebrating and Reflecting on Black History Month
As Black History Month comes to a close, we hear from employees as they reflect on what it means to celebrate and support black history and lived experiences beyond the month of February and into their daily lives.
Cassandra Dennis, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
"Black History Month gives all Americans an opportunity to listen to historical stories from our perspective that are not shared or may have been altered in American history books."
Black History Month is a time to highlight the resilience of Black Americans throughout U.S. history. It gives all Americans an opportunity to listen to historical stories from our perspective that are not shared or may have been altered in American history books. Throughout the year, my father shares family recipes as he cooks with his grandchildren and our family explores my maternal grandmother’s big bible, which provides names, dates or events of our ancestors throughout history. My mom and aunt connect the dots for us by sharing stories, which provide a prism of our past for us to envision the shoulders we stand upon.
After conversations with peers and reflecting upon our enriched history, these words came to mind:
The Shoulders We Stand Upon
The wind encircles our thoughts as we sway left to right, then right to left. While our visions of a more inspiring tomorrow lift our chins so we can absorb the practicality of today. For the journey is not about yesterday, today, or tomorrow individually. It is a collective effort of all our life’s experiences.
Each second, Each minute, Each hour, Each day
Reveals the harvest of seeds planted and nurtured by those whose shoulders we stand upon.
You see, we may sway in the wind, but our feet, hearts, minds, and souls are firmly rooted in a generation of people that toiled the ground before us. Thereby, providing a template for us to use and build upon for generations to come.
- Cassandra Dennis
Chelsea Hermond, Cyber/Data Privacy
"Offering support to fellow teammates who may be struggling—whether that's lending a listening ear, working to take action, or simply acknowledging and holding space for them—is also one way we can continue to build inclusivity for everyone."
Black history is about celebrating, sympathizing, and acknowledging the successes and undue hardships that black people have faced and continue to face in the United States. Throughout the year it is important to continue to educate oneself, step in the shoes of people who may not think and look like you, and advocate for minorities and/or peoples with disabilities.
Offering support to fellow teammates who may be struggling—whether that's lending a listening ear, working to take action, or simply acknowledging and holding space for them—is also one way we can continue to build inclusivity for everyone.
I remember after the killing of George Floyd, I felt someone ripped my heart from my chest. I could not work. I could only cry for the past and likely future deaths like his—based on not his character but his skin color. I thought, ‘How can I push away the pain I feel and focus on my work?’ My whole self cannot exist at work. I was wrong—my whole self can exist at DPR. Within a matter of a few weeks, a South Florida Tiger team was formulated with the main purpose of making an impact in our local community to assist and integrate more minority-owned businesses via different avenues.
Sixtus Aliriagwu, Environmental Health & Safety
Black History Month is an important time to celebrate the past, the present, and a reminder of the hope and opportunity for the future."
Celebrating Black History Month is paramount because it allows us, as African Americans, to acknowledge and appreciate our African Roots in all aspects of society. It is an important time to celebrate the past, the present, and a reminder of the hope and opportunity for the future.
Every month is Black History Month for me and my family. We celebrate black history by actively participating in events that promote African culture and heritage. One of my family’s favorite traditions is the New Yam Festival, popularly known as ‘Iwa Ji’, ‘Iri Ji’, ‘Ike Ij’ or ‘Orureshi’, depending on dialect, in the Igbo tribe of Nigeria, West Africa. It is an annual cultural festival by Igbo people usually held at the end of the rainy season in early August. In Igboland, New Yam Festival is the celebration of the harvest that brings the communities together. The festival involves eating roasted yam, drinking palm wine, traditional dancing, and masquerades, called ‘Mmanwu’.
Posted on February 25, 2022
Last Updated August 23, 2022