Reflections on Black History Month

February 2023

In observance of Black History Month, Williams and Connolly asked some of its employees to reflect on the month and share what it means to them.  Here is what some of those amazing employees had to say about Black History Month, its impact on various cultures, and the known and unsung heroes who have shaped what the U.S. looks like today.

“As we celebrate this Black History Month, I think of all the heroes (known and unknown) who have sacrificed and paved the way for so many of us (of all backgrounds) to be where we are.  The power of Black History Month is that it gives all of us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the fullness and richness of Black culture and the magnitude of the contributions that Black people have made in this country and across the world. It is a time to celebrate our brilliance, our unity, our unique experiences, our power, and our triumphs. It is a time to reflect on the contributions of our ancestors who are no longer with us, but who undergird everything we do.  It is a time to think of our personal histories and to recall those who, like my grandmother—Carolyne James, fought for those in their immediate communities but may never be written about in history books. And it is a time to be grateful. Grateful for how far we’ve come while continuing to press for equality and justice for all.” 

-Krystal Durham, Partner

“I personally refer to February as African-American History Month, in honor of African-American inventors, innovators & communities.  I’m proud of the inventors behind everyday products we use today.  I’m proud of innovators establishing businesses and setting trends that influence other cultures.  I’m proud of the diamonds that are forged from the harsh conditions in our cities.  African-Americans are a shining example of excellence as well as the pursuit of excellence. I’m proud of African-American entrepreneurs and leaders who aspire to be the first, and their stories, which illuminate a path for others in African-American communities and the larger African diaspora in America.”

-Malcolm Cornish, Senior Audio Visual Specialist

“Black History Month is important to me because it reminds us of how instrumental Black people have been in creating a ‘more perfect Union.’  Black individuals—such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nichelle Nichols, Marsha P. Johnson, Shirly Chisholm, Mae Jemison, and Barack Obama—have been pioneers in science, led political movements, revolutionized the entertainment industry, advanced human rights, and shattered barriers.  Then there are Black-led movements and organizations, from the NAACP, to the Black Panthers, to Black Lives Matter today, that have fought and continue to fight tirelessly to ensure that everyone, not just Black people, have access to the ballot box, can walk a street at night without fear of being murdered by law enforcement, and find equal dignity in American society.  Black History Month should be important to everyone because Black history is American history.  The joys, sorrows, struggles, and victories of Black Americans are what have protected and advanced the freedom, liberty, and democracy all Americans hold dear.”

-Ramon Ryan, Associate

“Natural beauty comes in all colors, strength in many forms.  When we learn to honor the differences and appreciate the mix, we’re in harmony.” – Unknown

“Black History Month is an opportunity to share the achievements and contributions of Blacks to the greater society, broadening perceptions.  Black History Month encourages a swath of other cultures to have a template to display their achievements and contributions for acknowledgment.  When one feels represented, one blossoms into a fully recognized individual.”

-Carla Blake, Senior eBilling Analyst

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