Rul-Aref Kashif, Project Manager
In 1976, then-President Gerald Ford said the country needed to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of [African Americans] in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” This year, the theme of Black History Month is celebrating the Black family. But if you truly want to celebrate the accomplishments and acknowledge and celebrate Black history, I recommend that everybody – everybody – visit the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
You’ll follow the journey of African Americans as they entered this country as an enslaved people, and you will follow their development and maturity as the country grew and matured. You’ll see the great accomplishments and the progress that they made in the development of our country with advances in engineering, science, medicine, culture, entertainment. You’ll see breakthroughs that they made in the development of our country that were never achieved before. In 2021, we would think that the remnants of our blemished past would have been erased by now, but we only need to look back to last year, and we have to realize that we still have work to do.
It is often quoted that without an awareness of the past, we cannot be thankful for the present and hopeful for the future. Each and every one of us should strive for the ideals declared in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and amongst these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Faye Majekodunmi, Staff Overhead Contact Systems Engineer
Black History Month is important because it allows us as a nation to focus on the contributions and advancements made my African Americans that were either neglected or unacknowledged in the past. During this time, we make the recommitment to embrace diversity, cultural inclusivity, and ensure every voice will continue to be heard.
Ashley Mannings, Digital Communications Manager
At Gannett Fleming, we like to talk about innovation and excellence. When it comes to history, you can’t mention those two things without mentioning Black people. Black people have contributed so much to society and have overcome immense barriers to do so. A lot of these achievements won’t be found in our typical American history books, so although we can celebrate Black history all year round, February gives us a special time to highlight these achievements and to educate others.
Esther McGinnis, Executive Vice President
Black History is important because it provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the persons and events whose shoulders we all stand on. Black history is everyone’s history, and it serves as a beacon for the great road that’s ahead of us. It truly is a celebration to be looked at throughout the year, not just in one month. And we celebrate it as one human family. It is our past, and also, it’s about our present. Not only is it about the bad and the shameful events that have happened, but it’s also about the good and the many successes that we’ve had over the years. This is how we all learn. To understand our journey to be a better society, we are black, we are white, and we are brown. All persons need to understand our history because it is all our histories. I enjoy learning about Black history, and I use this month as an opportunity to learn about a person from our past that I have very little knowledge about. And I also use this month as an opportunity to learn about a person who was a trailblazer in our present time.
William Roman, Chief Geologist
Black History Month provides us an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the lives, contributions, and struggles of black people. Black History Month serves to remind a person like me that my life, largely free from the negative consequences of racism, is not the norm for many people.
Monique Walker, Learning Program Manager
Black history is American history. The contributions made by Black people in this country have often been diluted or untold, and our children need to know the full history of the country they live in. Also, we’re still celebrating firsts. Maybe one day Gannett Fleming will have an African American CEO or Chairman. Imagine that!