As I reflect on Black History Month, I think about my own education on our history. More specifically, I think about the evolution of my education on our history. As I look at the knowledge I have gained about the Black experience in America, I am overwhelmed with pride knowing the struggle that has taken place for me to be in a position to write this. With that pride comes a great sense of responsibility to educate others and a call to duty to keep moving forward.
I will say this, what I have learned is a far cry from what has been and is currently being taught in schools. Our history as Americans in regards to the Black experience is immense and much more nuanced than the bullet points of slavery and MLK that are often highlighted during Black History Month. Knowing the totality of our history and what we have had to overcome to get the point we are at today speaks volumes about those who have come before me. I am proud to be a part of that lineage. That being said, there is a lot of frustration that comes with that pride. However, being frustrated is not where it ends for me. I know that in order to progress, we need everyone to be on board.
I come from humble beginnings. To be able to sit in the rooms that I am sitting in, having the conversations I am having with the people that I am having them with is an incredible progression. When I think about the sacrifices that were made for me to be sitting in this seat, I can’t help but feel responsible to share my education with others. From intimate conversations with friends to speaking to leaders at companies such as Walgreens, National General, MassMutual, Wyndham, Echo Global Logistics, and Grainger, I am always encouraged by the willingness of others to get involved.
This Black History Month I encourage and challenge all of you to evaluate your own personal knowledge of our history. Learn some key facts and historical moments in our history that are not taught in our schools. Teach them to our younger generation, black, white, and others so we can share in the continued struggle for equity and equality. Personally, I believe we must know from which we came to understand the direction and the destination we seek together.
- Desmond Clark, VP