I’m sitting in a cafe in Asheville, North Carolina, USA as I write this. There are about 25 people here (socially distanced). Twenty three present as white women. Two present as white men.
In many spaces that we occupy, white people are the vast majority. In workplaces, we often witness the org chart chock full of people who present as white and typically male.
While recognizing that diversity is not always something we can see above the surface of the iceberg, we must still acknowledge that you can still count the number of Black CEOs on one hand. This MUST change if we are to live the claimed values of this country.
We also know that more diverse teams leads to increased profits in companies – data indicates that it increases as much as 35%.
Black History Speakers are key to changing the landscape in organizations as they create common points of discussion and dialogue. (This is needed along with major and necessary strategic shifts in hiring and pathing practices in any organization that wants to do more than “talk the talk” of diversity, inclusion, and equity.)
I’m grateful that Melibee Global Speakers offers three unique speaker options for Black History Month (BHM): Deirdre Cooper Owens, Candace Doby, and Michael W. Twitty. I asked each of them to share their thoughts about Black History Month talks:
Candace Doby is an expert on the topic of courage. As the only black woman on a national corporate marketing team for many years, she has a lot to say about the subject of courage and risk for people of color in the workplace:
“Black people across history have repeatedly demonstrated that courage is the energizing force that helps us mobilize despite fear, choose ourselves, stand up for what is right and rely on our own self-knowledge.”
Her talk for BHM reminds us of the black giants who stood before us and how courage propels all of us forward. You can learn more about Candace here.
Deirdre Cooper Owens, PhD is a revered historian who specializes in the intersection of race and medical history. Her book, Medical Bondage, is a shocking and necessary read. Sharing the stories of countless black women who were used in unethical medical testing, Dr. Cooper Owens knows the power of storytelling as it relates to the ancestors. She shares some thoughts on BHM:
“Black History Month is important because it tells the stories and reveals the experiences of a people whose actions, institutions, and decisions have made this country grapple with the true meaning of democracy.”
Her talks for BHM explores the history of black women’s health and relates it to today’s care of women. Despite the difficulty of her topic, she is highly engaging. You can learn more about Dr. Cooper Owens here.
Michael W. Twitty is a popular cultural commentator, culinary historian, and author of the award winning book, The Cooking Gene. He not only looks to the past but the future as it pertains to BHM:
“My approach to speaking on Black History month is to constantly show my audience how much more there is for all if us to learn and how much history we have within us. The exploration isn’t just about the past….its about connectivity and many ways we make history every day.”
His talks for BHM explores the history of black people, but also look to the future. He defines the struggles and always has a magical way of linking the past to current events. You can learn more about Michael here.