Celebrating Black History Month at Kinesso

Celebrating Black History Month at Kinesso

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Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States every February since 1967, and was created to honor the accomplishments and achievements of Black Americans throughout U.S. history. Today, Black History Month focuses on the discussion of Black individuals and their contributions to our society each and every day, as well as encouraging the discussion of Black Americans achievements year-round. In recognition of Black History Month, we asked individuals to share their heritage, and discuss what the month of observation means to them. May their words inspire you to continue the conversation, through this month and beyond.

What does Black history mean to you?

This month is a time to pay homage to our history and ancestors. To reflect and honor those who paved the way for the evolution of people of color. Their advocacy and perseverance have created opportunities for our generations to excel in industries we would not have otherwise had access to. Their progress leads the way for our present progression.
Salaama Milligan, Director, PMO & Operations at Kinesso

Black History month is a time to share and celebrate the impact, accomplishments, and achievements that Black people have contributed to the world. Black History Month also serves to encourage future generations to stand resolute in their heritage and commitment to improving the lives of everyone, regardless of color, race, sex, sexual orientation, and beyond.
Rodney Newby, VP, Marketplace Solutions at Kinesso

Black History Month is the education and celebration of the diverse impact that Black Americans have contributed to America and the world. Through Science, Economics, Technology, Art, and Culture, Black History should be celebrated because of how integral it is to our everyday lives.
Joseph Quashie, Director, Addressable Strategy at Matterkind

When you hear Black History Month, what comes to your mind?

When I think about Black History Month, I think about ways to highlight progress that is yet to be made. I hope that in the future, Black History Month becomes less focused on popularizing the most palatable pieces of our culture, and instead focuses on content and media that catalyzes a desire for non-black folks to acknowledge the current biases still being faced today and actively position themselves against it.
Brianna Rascoe, Associate Director, Design at Kinesso

When I hear Black History Month, what comes to mind is a month long of various events dedicated to celebrating our Black History—learning, embracing, and celebrating our black ancestors and the role they played in creating the world we live in today.
Patrick Pierre-Louis, Manager, Client Finance at Matterkind

Black history month is a chance to reflect on the both the challenges and perseverance of Black Americans who came before us and built the society we live in today, as well as a reminder to keep that spirit and energy pushing forward. Black history is American history, and the Black Americans who have overcome great obstacles despite systemic challenges that have been put in front of them are a prime example of what it means to be American.
Aaron Nahas, Director Addressable Media at Matterkind

Can you talk a little bit about a Black individual who’s made an impact in your life?

There have been many Black individuals who’ve made an impact in my life, however, one that stands out is my mentor, Janet King. Janet hired me as her Production Assistant at my first job in corporate America. She helped me navigate through understanding corporate America and then understanding corporate America as a Black man. As my career progressed, she challenged me to be comfortable in situations where I would be the only person of color present. She encouraged me to never stop seeking out opportunities, inside and outside of my community, because nothing would be given to me. She reminded me that our people don’t give up when faced with severe adversity, because we overcame in the past. She always stresses the importance of giving back to the community. Janet has/is undoubtedly a force in my life.
Rodney Newby, VP, Marketplace Solutions at Kinesso

Katherine Johnson, when I became aware of her immense contributions to NASA as a whole and how imperative her Mathematical calculations for trajectories for NASA missions were. Her knowledge and expertise enabled the American people to see astronauts make the first steps to exploring space. In addition, she has inspired many people, young women, men, and children, to pursue their dreams.
Joseph Quashie, Director, Addressable Strategy at Matterkind

My grandmother. She passed away eight years ago and is still the light of my life. She encouraged my excellence. The certification or degree didn’t matter as long as I persevered in advancing my education. She taught me compassion, to be fair, and to always do the right thing. Her teachings and love are part of the core values I carry with me today.
Salaama Milligan, Director, PMO & Operations at Kinesso

That individual is Femi Olu-Lafe, SVP of Global Culture and Inclusion here at Kinesso & Matterkind. In 2022, Femi reached out to me on multiple occasions. Two of those occasions really stood out to me.
On the first occasion, she reached out to me to ask me about my experience at Matterkind. I was able to share my experience openly & and candidly. I left the meeting feeling appreciated, heard, supported and a valuable part of the Matterkind family.

On the second occasion, she reached out to get my input on a program Matterkind was working on launching at the time. This occasion really meant a lot to me because it was for a program that is near and dear to my heart. Even though my role at Matterkind wasn’t directly aligned with the program, she still valued the input I brought to the table.

I can’t thank Femi enough for the impact she’s made on my experience at Matterkind & my life!
Patrick Pierre-Louis, Manager, Client Finance at Matterkind

I’ve always been fond of the story of Frederick Douglass. I think his life story embodies the idea of overcoming adversity and becoming the best you can be despite the odds being against you. Frederick Douglass started life enslaved in a world where he was barely thought of as more than someone else’s property and wasn’t allowed to learn simple things, like how to read. Despite that, Douglass went on to become a writer, speaker, and diplomat. If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will!
Aaron Nahas, Director Addressable Media at Matterkind

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