Honoring Black History MonthFebruary 23, 2018
In honor of Black History Month, we talked with members of our African-American employee group to discuss different perspectives and ways to acknowledge the experiences and achievements of black Americans throughout history and into today.
“Black History Month reminds all Americans that this history is an integral part of the story of the richness of the American experience”, said Valton Henderson, diversity and inclusion program manager and company liaison for Blue Cross’ employee resource groups. “It’s important to remember our history in total and not just in part. Black history — just like Latino, Asian, European, and Native American history — belongs to all of us.”
Hillary Swanson and Tom Noon, co-chairs of the African-American Professionals Network at Blue Cross, also shared their thoughts and ideas on how to honor and engage with the African-American experience throughout the year. Watch the video below.
There are many ways to start a personal journey in learning new aspects of African-American contributions. Here are just a few:
Visit a museum/archive
Most states have museums/archives that contain information about the contributions of persons and groups specific state to the Civil Rights Movement. In the Twin Cities, check out the Minnesota Historical Society’s website to explore the trials and triumphs of African American Minnesotans. You will not only learn about this important history, but you’ll support the people and institutions who make these archives possible for future generations.
Explore literature by black authors
Make a point to seek out books by black authors for your personal reading list or book club. Reading books written by African-Americans not only supports the arts but broadens your knowledge about the American experience told through an African-American point of view. Some suggested authors include: James Baldwin, August Wilson, Terry McMillan, W.E.B. Dubois, Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka, Ralph Ellison, Maya Angelou and many, many others.
Try out an African-American recipe or two
Support a black-owned business
Black History Month is a great time to support minority-owned businesses that have rich legacies of helping their communities. The Official Black Wall Street app is one of many apps designed to help consumers find and support black and minority-owned businesses.
Learn more about black history to share with others
Check out the following articles, which provide interesting information about the contributions of African Americans in the fields of healthcare and innovation and share it with your family and friends.
Discuss black history with family and friends
A great way to learn and educate others is to have a dialogue, especially with persons who have lived through historical civil rights events. See what new things you can learn from the people in your inner circle. They may have powerful memories just waiting to be shared.