My Black History Month US is about…
To celebrate Black History Month in the US, we invited members of the Barclays Black Professionals Resource Group to share how they will mark the event during the month of February. From an emphasis on heritage, to a call for reflection, everyone’s experience is unique, heartfelt – and worthy of year-round recognition.
My Black History Month is about… Legacy
Our ancestors paved the way to create a legacy of Black excellence and African-Caribbean cultural richness which continue to influence American culture, music and communities today. Black History Month is a time to acknowledge the pain of our past and celebrate the achievements each generation contributes to our progress. I’ll commemorate the event by supporting Black-owned businesses and sharing favourite books by Black authors with family and friends. I’m also excited to attend ‘Experience the Culture’ events with the Black Professionals Resource Group, because I’m truly grateful for the support I’ve received since becoming a member. Representation matters, and I have been inspired by Black leaders to be bold and dream big when it comes to my own career growth. I want to empower the next generation to tap into their potential – and see themselves as future leaders.
Daniella Olusoga, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources
My Black History Month is about… Gratitude
I am only able to celebrate Black History Month because of the sacrifices people before me have made, and I’m very grateful. I plan to celebrate Black History Month by committing to making daily changes and contributions within my sphere of influence, and by being intentional about building quality relationships. The Black Professionals Resource Group’s reverse mentoring programme has been both instrumental and supportive during my transition to my current role at Barclays, and I hope that by always putting my best foot forward, I too can help to create opportunities for other people.
Yemi Akiolu, Assistant Vice President, Corporate and Investment Bank
My Black History Month is about… Heritage
Black History Month allows me to remember the origins of my heritage, the power it brings and the beauty it exudes. It reminds me that I have a rich heritage beautifully steeped in determination, perseverance and love. I will pay tribute this month with volunteerism and education because I want to help others understand the meaning behind this special month and the culture it represents. By allowing me to connect with dynamic individuals who have served as friends and mentors in my professional and personal life, Barclays’ Black Professionals Resource Group has provided me with a sounding board and support structure. Therefore, I would like to participate further in the Race at Work initiative and become a stronger activist for myself and others within the bank – enabling us to bring about more change for other Black professionals.
Gail Monxhwedey, Vice President, Controls
My Black History Month is about… Unity
Unity has never meant so much to me as it has over the past two years. The close connection I feel towards my colleagues, friends and family at Barclays have been my source of strength, determination and drive during a great period of social and economic unrest. During Black History Month, I will be taking part in events supported by Barclays’ Black Professionals Resource Group that will not only highlight our cultural history, but also our journey to equity. As colleagues, we are all invited to ‘Experience the Culture’ events and to evolve the narrative around the Black experience, from tragedy to triumph. The Black Professionals Resource Group has been pivotal to my personal growth at Barclays and I have experienced great support so far. But there is still more work to do – and only unity will get us there.
Toks Sotande-Peters, Director, Corporate and Investment Bank
My Black History Month is about… Freedom
Historically, African Americans were not acknowledged the way they should have been, but their ambition, courage, bravery and tenacity changed many laws, and their teachings paved the way for all minorities today. US Black History Month is a special time where we acknowledge their legacy. I will pay tribute this month and throughout the year by supporting Black-owned businesses within my community, many of whom still face structural racism; by having more discussions about how my colleagues and I can help our individual communities; and with the support of the Black Professionals Resource Group, by looking more closely at how we can recruit and retain Black employees at Barclays.
Maxwell Hyde, Assistant Vice President, Controls
My Black History Month is about… Achievement
The lives of so many important African Americans are hardly mentioned in US history classes, so Black History Month is a way for all Americans to learn about and acknowledge people whose achievements went unrecognised for so long. By highlighting these triumphs, we can ensure that their contributions, their inventions and their political, cultural and artistic achievements are never forgotten. Personally, I will choose to mark Black History Month by attending celebrations and online events throughout the month, and I will volunteer my services at a Black-founded, non-profit organisation. I’ll also do what I can to increase fairness in job opportunities and career growth for the Black community – especially for those qualified individuals who are often overlooked.
Davin Barker, Assistant Vice President, Compliance
My Black History Month is about… Community
Black History Month gives us an opportunity to continue to build and expand our community. By leveraging resources within our corporate and social framework through community-building, we can enact change. Encouraged by the collaboration and empowerment I’ve experienced through the Black Professionals Resource Group, I will mark Black History Month by celebrating the accomplishments of past and current trailblazers and engaging even more with community-focused groups – while providing myself as a resource to support the overall goal.
Ade Ogunrinu, Vice President, CRES and Location Strategy
My Black History Month is about… Empowerment
Empowerment equals action, representation and responsibility – and Black History Month provides a platform for people of all races to understand more deeply some of the challenges faced by people with Black heritage. It also gives us an opportunity to appreciate the progression that Black culture has made over the years, and to gain perspective on how we can beneficially impact progress in the future – especially across the workplace. I have always wanted to be a person that leads by example, and the commitment, drive and family environment within the Black Professionals Resource Group has continued to inspire me. Collectively, we all have a role in driving positive change and growth for people of all races and cultures.
Louis Smith, Analyst, Corporate and Investment Bank
My Black History Month is about… Reflection
I will use Black History Month to reflect upon the extraordinary efforts of individuals and groups throughout history, who helped to make our society a more just and equitable place to live, work and exist. While I recognise there is still immense progress to be made, I consider myself privileged to have enjoyed the experiences I’ve had. So, this month, I will make a concerted effort to reflect upon history and how we can improve upon the impact of our inspiring leaders, by creating pathways and opportunities for other ambitious young Black professionals. The talent pool is wide, and my hope is that all minorities can excel in their desired career paths – a goal that is shared by Barclays’ Black Professionals Resource Group.
Moctar Niang, Analyst, Corporate and Investment Bank
My Black History Month is about… Pride
It has not always been the case that Black history has been taught and learned as a fundamental part of America’s story. Seeing Black people appreciated and acknowledged broadly is something that brings me immense pride. I plan to spend this month reading books by Black authors, and reflecting on what I can do on a personal level to positively impact the Black community. With support from the Black Professionals Resource Group, I can achieve my goals – just knowing that there is a group dedicated to helping me succeed gives me tremendous confidence. I also want to do my part to help create change for my colleagues, as Barclays can only benefit from diverse talent.
Mayowa Tinubu, Analyst, Corporate and Investment Bank
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