Evergreen Goodwill employees share perspective on Black History Month
As we reflect on Black History Month, we recognize the importance of, not only commemorating and immortalizing Black excellence and the vast impacts of African American people throughout history but also celebrating those who continue to make history and others who have yet to leave their mark.
This year’s theme is Black Resistance, which takes a look at the ways “African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms.” (Association for the Study of African American Life and History).
This conversation is meant to explore and support Black communities for months and years to come – not just during the month of February. We know there is still so much work to be done to fully understand and dismantle oppressive systems.
Evergreen Goodwill of Northwest Washington wants to take this opportunity to highlight leaders within our organization who make a difference in our local communities every day. We compiled quotes and testimonials from employees across the organization to tell a story highlighting what Black History Month means to them.
Anthony, Material Handling Supervisor
We shouldn't only be discussing black history in February but it is a good time to remind ourselves of our history and why it's important to be celebrating how far we've come and continue to have new conversations about current events. Leading in to the theme of black resistance we all need to get together with our local communities and not just discuss current systematic injustices still happening today, but demand and fight for true equality for everyone. When we witness these injustices of racism in day-to-day life, we have to call it out and support those being wronged at all times. Supporting our black communities by resisting attempts to regress all the progress we have made is a cause that may continue for a long time to come, but it's one we must all take up.
Tamera, Employee Resource Navigator
Black resistance to me is:
- Not accepting the world the way it is today.
- Understanding what was taken and what is at stake
- Empowerment and learning how to access
- Learning your history, knowing what your people have contributed to make everyone’s lives better
- Holding on to my spirituality
- Not letting anyone’s perception of Black dictate what I allow myself to feel or to think
- It's not accepting the boundaries that people who don't look like you or who have never felt the Black experience in America set for us
- It's honoring those who have laid a foundation for us to continue building on
- It's knowing the work is going to continue even when I am no longer animated
- it's being able to love when you know you may never receive it back
How do you see this theme play out in your daily work or in the communities you work with?
- Removing barriers
- Giving access to basic human needs
- Understanding the “Tip of the Iceberg” when it comes to diversity.
- Not setting boundaries for what I believe our community can accomplish
Chesca Ward, Chief People Officer
For me, Black Resistance is not accepting that which has always been told to me as truth just because that is the story that is always been told. It is not believing or over-generalizing an entire group of people just because that is the way it has always been done. The Black community I have grown up in has not fit the stereotypes and biases mainstream media and entertainment would have you believe. Our community is so much richer. Black Excellence has always existed, but the broader community has not always cared to listen. I try to use my body of work to listen, understand, and give voice to the truth of the contributions of Black people yesterday, today and what I know will come in the future. Black Resistance will lead us to uncover the real and hidden stories and unlock the potential for a better tomorrow.
Black History Month, started by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926, raises awareness and celebrates the contributions of Black Americans across the nation during the month of February. Learn more about Black History Month.