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Spotlight: Celebrating Black History Month

Darian Khalilpour
Author: Darian Khalilpour
Date: February 13, 2024
Tags: Brand, Diversity, Healthcare Staffing, Inclusion, Spotlight

At Amergis Healthcare Staffing, our team members are at the heart of everything we do. Each month, our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) board highlights the story of Amergis employees who demonstrate our core values for healthcare professionals and their patients.

In honor of February being Black History Month, our D&I team spoke with three team members, Field Support Manager Alexis Grant, Recruitment Operations Manager Michael Lamb, and Recruiting Manager Jaye Green, to learn about the significance of Black History Month for each of them personally.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Alexis: “Black History Month means a lot to me. More recently it has played an important factor in my life. Growing up in a Caribbean household I didn’t hear much of black history, mainly African American black history, but I did know of Jamaican national heroes like Marcus Garvey. Knowing the history of my ancestors was important to me and helped me understand where we all originated from. When I was in college I started to learn more about black history and expand my knowledge beyond what we learned in primary school. Black history plays a major role in my heritage; there are so many different influences that come from Africa that impact Caribbean households and lifestyles, which is a big part of the person that I am.”

Michael: “When I think about Black History Month a myriad of feelings come to mind. Many African Americans sacrificed their lives fighting to get equal treatment and rights in this country, in addition to the inventions of many things we use on a daily basis. I make sure to take the time to understand how selfless these people were and to share some of these stories with my children. It is important to understand that if many of these commitments were not made, we would not have many of the luxuries we enjoy today. Envision life without Garrett Morgan, who invented the three light traffic signal, and imagine life without traffic signals. Envision life without Alexander Miles, who is credited for the automated elevator, and imagine climbing seven or eight flights of stairs to get to your work station. Envision life without Mark Dean, who co-invented IBM’s original personal computer. It would be impossible to “connect people to work that matters” without this. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but one of the most influential thoughts/feelings tied to Martin Luther King, Jr. and his work on the Civil Right Movement, not to mention his speech ‘I have a Dream’.”

Jaye: “Black History Month, for me, is a time to reflect on the connection I have with my ancestors. It’s a time to appreciate and celebrate the individuals that worked and sacrificed so that we could have a better life. From popular public figures of color to unsung heroes in our communities. We have a rich legacy of scientists, inventors, builders, doctors and scholars that have been hidden throughout history. During this time I immerse myself in Black American history.”

How do you observe Black History Month?

Alexis: “In the Tampa Bay area we have organizations that help put together events for Black History Month that I enjoy taking part in. This normally kicks off with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade that is held on MLK day on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Hillsborough County in Tampa. If I am not participating in the parade I try to go and enjoy the festivities that happen for that day. There are also events throughout the city for the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, where they hold musical festivals, art shows and seminars, showcasing national and local artists, professors and civil rights activists.”

Michael: “During the month of February my family and I have always celebrated the month by finding and making recipes that come from Black culture. The recipes we prepare can include something as simple as “soul food”, other times we reach outside of our comfort zone and prepare meals from African culture such as Jollof Rice or curry dishes.”

Jaye: “In observation of Black History Month, there are several local events I usually attend. For example there is a Black History trivia event thrown annually at a local church. There is an African American heritage festival in Tampa I love to attend. When I was younger my grandfather would take me to different historically Black monuments such as the MLK Memorial Museum in Atlanta to celebrate Black History Month.”

How do you continue the legacy of Black History Month?

Alexis: “In all honesty, this hasn’t been something that I have thought about. However, now that I have the chance to, I would say that I would want to leave behind a legacy that my family would be proud of, being a child of immigrants and being a first generation American born. Knowing the struggles and perseverance both my parents had to endure to make it in America, I have always had this drive to make my parents proud and be the best I can in all tasks that are set in front of me. This is something I hope will become my legacy and can pass down to the next generation of my family.”

Michael: “I continue the legacy by teaching my children and allowing them to participate in preparing the above mentioned meals. I think it very important for them to understand where they come from (my mother is of Jamaican decent) and the large impact African Americans have on many of the things we do and things we use today.”

Jaye: “I continue the legacy by being aware of current events that affect Black culture and getting involved in creative ways to push the culture forward. I pass stories down to younger members of my family about challenges and advancements that we have experienced in the past that continue to cultivate our future. I volunteer with local organizations to expand awareness using my musical talents and poetry to relay my genuine Black experience.”

What would you want your coworkers/others in the company to know about Black History Month?

Alexis: “I would want others to look beyond what they think they know about Black History, which a lot of the time focuses on the struggles that people of color in this country have dealt with. Instead, I encourage others to focus on the beautiful history of Black people in this country that have brought many different forms of artistry, education and entertainment to this world. I’m not saying that the historical events of slavery and the civil rights movements are not important, but seeing what we as a people have brought to the table in different facets of life is important as well. I encourage people to read a book by a Black author, buy a product from a small Black-owned business, go to a seminar hosted by a Black educator, do something impactful for your community or surrounding community, spread awareness and more than ever be loving because ultimately that is what truly matters.”

Michael: “You don’t have to be African American to take time, show appreciation and immerse yourself in some of the culture. Take some time to research the contributions and value the significance of Black History month!”

Jaye: “I would want my colleagues to know that Black history is happening every day and we can contribute to moving our culture forward as well as defining what Black excellence looks like. We all have the power to celebrate the past, relish the present but also create the future. I would like to challenge people of all backgrounds to learn more about the hidden figures in African American history and see what amazing things we contributed to this country through academia, science, art, sports, entertainment and politics!”

Come Make a Difference with the Amergis Healthcare Staffing Team

Amergis Staffing always has a wide range of available opportunities for people who are ready to accelerate their careers. We embrace employees from all different backgrounds and always strive to foster a welcoming work environment by following our core values of:

Learn how you can join the Amergis Staffing team by reaching out online today.

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