Celebrating Black History Month
By Nate Vaughn
The month of February offers a time of acknowledgment for everyone in various ways. It could be a time to recognize the quickly approaching end of winter, the love you share for another, and for many, it is a time of learning and appreciation for the achievements that African Americans have made to help pave the road for current and future generations.
While it is extremely important to understand the plight that many Black men and women have endured over time, especially in the workplace, it is equally important to understand and acknowledge the amazing work that is occurring in the modern day…sometimes right under our collective noses! As a company, Modivcare’s recognition and celebration of Black History Month helps to foster an inclusive and culturally competent work environment. In addition, it helps to provide a better understanding of the cultural heritage of many of our members so that we can improve communication between Modivcare and the individuals we serve.
I am sure many of our first introductions to prominent Black figures were via school lessons on Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and other leaders. The importance of learning about prominent Black men and women, some of whom gave their lives so that their communities could advance in society, cannot ever be undermined or dismissed. These people—and many others—are the building blocks of modern-day society. To progress cohesively in today’s world, it is crucial to recognize the men and women who are making important discoveries, innovating, developing laws, creating art and changing the landscape of our communities, based on the blueprint created by persons of the past.
Over the next month, my challenge to you is to discover the new!
Learn about Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, whose team worked on developing the COVID-19 vaccine; Nicholas Johnson, Princeton’s first Black valedictorian; Nia DaCosta, Marvel Entertainment’s first Black director; Jason Wright, the NFL’s first Black president; or Cheick Camara and Ermias Tadesse, creators of BlackGen Capital.
The list could—and does—go on and on regarding the amazing contributions that Black men and women, young and old, are making in today’s world.
The single most important action we can take with this “new” information is to pass it on! Strike up a conversation with your colleague over lunch, show your children (if you have teenagers there are many informative TikTok videos on Black innovators), and read about them. Everyone can be an “agent of change” by simply sharing!
In the next month, I encourage you to celebrate Black History Month in your own unique way and to help spread knowledge of the history of many of our colleagues and members to aid in creating a space where we all can grow.
I leave you with a quote to ponder by the late Marcus Garvey, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Nate Vaughn is Chief Diversity Officer at Modivcare.