Black History Month: A conversation with Kirsty Thomas-Brown and Priscillia Assemien
We're delighted to share with you this empowering extract of a conversation that Kirsty Thomas-Brown, member of our Employee Resource Group EthNashity has put together to celebrate Black History Month and has invited Priscillia to join her. Please read along the empowering conversation they have shared below and discover why this month’s celebrations are so important to many around us. Kirsty (left), Consultant with Spinks and Priscillia (right), People Communications & Inclusion Coordinator with Nash Squared.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
P: It means I can unapologetically shine a spotlight on people who have inspired me and celebrate them.
K: To me, it’s a month in which we should be learning more about cultures and customs we are not actively a part of.
What do you think companies can do to make all people feel celebrated all year round?
P: I think it’s important that companies reflect the cities and communities that they serve – diversity is simple, you simply leave the door open and base hires on their own merits. I was very lucky to have attended Black Valley’s tech academy which teaches people from the Black and Ethnic Minority groups how to strive in the corporate world. Another example of being celebrated was when I was interviewed at Nash Squared. I was positively surprised to find that the team were not only interested in my skills but also in who I am as an individual and the value of my cultural diversity. It’s the simple questions like what drives me, what makes me get out of bed in the morning, that made me realise I wanted to truly be a part of this team.
K: I agree, the importance of a company reflecting its community has more of an impact than a million LinkedIn #BHM posts that get lost in the sea of everyone else’s.
How can we reach more people during Black History Month?
K: Black history, whilst it’s important that we remember the difficulty faced by our grandparents, parents and even ourselves in the modern day, I sometimes feel the trauma being rehashed for engagement is disingenuous – to me Black history is vibrant, beautiful and deserves to be celebrated.
P: I agree, it’s about having reminders of what to be proud of.
K: I wonder how things might change if we just taught people more about the cultures they don’t know. Understanding breeds acceptance and I believe that’s the key to an effective Black History Month.
What are your personal aspirations for future generations as a result of Black History Month?
K: Black people have always been a part of history, so ideally I think reversing the erasure is the ideal scenario for future generations.
P: That it will give us more reasons to smile and that it will be something we look forward to. A month (and beyond) of appreciation, education and celebration.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts Kirsty and Priscillia.