Mary Steele, Executive Director – Reflections
I’m going to date myself by telling you that Black History Month was first recognized the year I graduated from high school. I loved studying history, yet nothing about the history I studied in school gave me any real understanding of the experience of Black Americans. In fact, until I began working in non-profits, I had no idea of how institutional policies like redlining and disinvestment in neighborhoods and schools continued to affect individuals and communities today.
Black History is American History. It is a history of struggle and triumph and the building of America. We all have a responsibility to know the past and how it affects our present and our future. One good source is the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project which documents the local activism and resilience of the Black community in Seattle. https://depts.washington.edu/civilr/African%20Americans.htm
Tawnie Fransen, Deputy Director of Asset Management – A Haiku
We need a floodlight
to shine on heroic deeds
and Black excellence
Charlene Mitchell, Director of Emergency Services – Reflections
What does Black History Month mean to me?
It means having a sense of belonging. Proud, beautiful, having resilience, culture, music, history, inventors, spiritual, celebration!!
Kaisa Hall, Director of Human Resources – Reflections
I’m a history major. Historiography is often the key influencer in how we perceive historical events and narratives. What Black History Month means is doing the work to read Black authors and historians, and un-centering myself through a white CIS lens.
Nathan Jackson, Communications Manager – Reflections
Black History Month to me is a chance to reflect and remember all the people who have come before me that allowed me to have the life I have now. The big names from the past like Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Octavia Butler, Marsha P. Johnson, and Huey P Newton, combine in my mind with the unsung heroes who lived their everyday lives with dignity and a hopeful stubbornness to never be treated as “less than.”
This month brings the challenges we continue to face as we build a more just, more equitable society into focus. It is a month of triumph, motivation, and great expectations.
Shervin McCammon, Program Manager – Reflections
We’ve had to go through so much to get to where we are now. The Emmett Tills, the civil rights movement, the march on Washington. I look at this month as a time to celebrate the walls we have torn down and the opportunities we’ve created for ourselves.
I wouldn’t have been a manager 60 years ago. I wouldn’t have been able to come to work and help people and have this platform. I’m proud to be a community leader. I’m proud that people trust me enough to helm these services and talk to me about things that are important to them.
Resources and Ideas
The following list of resources is curated from Compass’s own internal Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility DEIA work.
Books, Videos, or Articles
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- So you want to talk about race? by Ijeoma Oluo
- The 1619 Project by Nicole Hannah-Jones
- Lead from the outside by Stacey Abrams
- A promised land by Barack Obama
Podcasts or Radio Shows
- Code Switch from NPR
- 1619 from the New York Times
- Pod Save the People from DeRay McKesson