“Black History Month is a time to celebrate our culture and to reflect and honor the contributions and accomplishments of African Americans throughout history. Black history is American history, so it shouldn’t just be limited to one month — it should always be celebrated and recognized.”
— Breanna B., Black at Spin Employee Network Group Member
Today, February 1, marks the beginning of Black History Month. The creation of this annual celebration dates back to 1915, when historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The organization sponsored national Negro History week in 1926 — choosing February to coincide with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The week began with local school and community celebrations, history clubs, and performances. By the late 1960s, this weeklong celebration had grown into a month long tradition, known as Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, and it has been recognized by every U.S. president since. (source)
This year, we’re honored to introduce the Black at Spin (Black@) Employee Network Group. Black at Spin’s mission is to cultivate, recruit, retain, and empower Black employees through connection, mentorship, collaboration, and discussion. Black@ also seeks to support Spin’s executive leadership team by integrating diversity goals into company-wide business initiatives.
Some of the network’s key initiatives include:
- Establishing a mentorship and pipeline program that bridges the gap between local operations staff and senior leadership.
- Fostering Spin’s engagement with historically Black colleges and universities, in addition to organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers and the National Urban League (and its local affiliates) to diversify recruiting pools.
- Working with Spin’s senior leadership team to provide insight on company goals and vision, and how Black@ can contribute in a meaningful way.
- Curating a list of educational resources that non-Black employees at Spin can use to learn about cultural and systemic topics.
- Organizing events to share and discuss reflections and viewpoints of Black@ team members with the entire Spin community
Black@ has played an instrumental role in initiatives such as working with our leadership team to include MLK Day and Juneteenth as company holidays, and selecting the National Urban League as a recipient of an employee-matching donation program. We’d like to introduce you to the members of Black@, who share with us everything from the importance of Black History Month to the causes they care about most.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
“Black History is the recognition and celebration of the pain and pride associated with the stories, events, and people across the African diaspora.” Ashley B., Sr. Government Partnerships Manager, East
“Black History to me is highlighting the beautiful legacy of the African people and showcasing the creation and innovation that Black people have made to American culture, science, art, education, and many other facets of daily life.” — Cody M., Operations Lead
“It is a powerful reminder of our continued brilliance, resilience and determination in the face of the unknown.” — Alexander D., Community Partnerships Associate
“Black History means recognizing the many contributions that Black Americans have made throughout U.S. history in areas other than entertainment, music, or sports. We have a rich history of producing scientists, inventors, innovators, and leaders who made many of the goods, services, and politics that we all benefit from today. And a number of our modern day conveniences — from traffic lights, to color monitors and Ghz chips, to refrigerated trucks, to the first-form ironing boards and home security systems — were architected and/or patented by Black Americans. It is important to ensure that their developments are recognized to inspire young men and women of any color to dream big and then make even bigger things happen.” — T.J. Williams, Regional General Manager, West
Share a specific person from history that inspires you.
“Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago. He was brilliant, funny, and strategic.” — Will B., Head of Government Partnerships, East
“Miles Davis. He has been one of the most influential figures in music history. His impact has touched all genres from Hip Hop to Classical music.” — Lance A., Director of Real Estate Partnerships
“Maya Angelou has always inspired me and so many others to strive for greatness through her poetry, novels, filmmaking, civil rights activism, and education.” — Cody M. Operations Lead
“W.E.B. Du Bois. He was a true social justice warrior, whose public works and achievements contributed to the foundations for addressing racial inequity.” — Alexander D., Community Partnerships Associate
Share a cause that you’re passionate about and why.
“Equal justice under the law, because I’ve seen first-hand how justice is granted for certain people and tossed aside for others.” — Breanna B., Sr. Public Policy Manager
“I am passionate about helping those who so desire to discover what matters most to them and why. Having that sense of purpose and self-understanding can change your life.” — T.J. Williams, Regional General Manager, West
“Living in Atlanta Georgia, and moving from the Northeast to the South I’ve become passionate about voter rights for all people.” — Lance A., Director of Real Estate Partnerships
And lastly, share a fun fact about yourself!
“In my former years, I was a classically trained mezzo soprano, performing in community theater and the gospel choir in my hometown church.” — Ashley B., Sr. Government Partnerships Manager, East
“I recited large sections of MLK’s I Have A Dream speech when I was kid at Back History Month celebrations.” — Will Burns, Head of Government Partnerships, East
“I’m an avid vinyl collector and have accumulated 400+ records in three years.” — Alexander D., Community Partnerships Associate
At Spin, we believe that a diverse and inclusive workforce allows us to better serve the communities we operate in across the globe. We hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the Black at Spin Employee Network — stay tuned for our next employee network feature.
At Spin, we believe that a diverse and inclusive workforce allows us to better serve the communities we operate in across the globe. We hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the Black at Spin Employee Network Group — stay tuned for our next employee network feature. We look forward to honoring Black History month this February as a Spin community with several events and continuing to honor the important contributions all year long.