Celebrating U.S. Black History Through Community at… | BeyondTrust

February was Black History Month in the United States, and for the entire month, BeyondTrust celebrated with multiple events and opportunities for community sharing. The event series was hosted by Black@BT, a BeyondTrust employee resource group that is dedicated to building a safe and productive space for black employees and allies.

Black@BT began creating space to celebrate the rich and beautiful history of Black Americans in 2022. Our community has been impacted by government, education, innovation, and culture throughout American history. We chose to celebrate U.S. Black History Month by creating the opportunity to gather, educate, and safely discuss the hard truths about the Black experience in America. Together, we celebrated our ability to overcome so many adversities, and we honored those who fought so that we can live free.

Let’s take a look at how BeyondTrust honored and celebrated the historic contributions of Black Americans as a safe and supportive community during this year’s U.S. Black History Month.

What is U.S. Black History Month?

Black History Month actually reaches back to 1926, when the American historian and scholar Carter G. Woodson, who was the first to introduce and popularize the long-neglected field of Black studies to scholars across the United States, launched a week-long celebration of the historic contributions of Black Americans. He chose February for the celebration so the event would coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, two important figures in Black history. Woodson believed that Black people should be proud of their heritage, and that all Americans should understand the largely overlooked achievements of Black Americans. Woodson eventually became known as the “father of Black history,” and in 1976 February became officially recognized as Black History Month by President Gerald Ford. Black History Month is also celebrated by Canada, Ireland, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

It is vital that Black history continues to be told so the world can continue to learn about our significant role in American history. It is also important for our employees to understand our history so they will understand who we are as a people—and it is important that Black voices are able to communicate that history. This will help build community within BeyondTrust and speaks to BeyondTrust’s core values: to treat every employee with dignity and respect.

What is the Black@BT resource group all about?

Black@BT’s mission is to create a safe space by building community for our Black employees and allies to engage, connect, empower, and learn.

The Black@BT resource group was created to allow our black employees a space to gather where they felt heard and safe. Most people do not understand the amount of trauma a Black American experiences in their day-to-day life. Our objective is to increase the recruitment and talent development of black employees for BeyondTrust in partnership with the Human Resource Department. We want to increase leadership opportunities and visibility for our black employees. BeyondTrust offers a place for us to feel like we belong and are supported!

How did BeyondTrust Recognize Black Excellence During U.S. Black History Month?

Here’s a recap of the highlight moments from this year’s U.S. Black History Month at BeyondTrust.

Our History Told by Us

We created a community gathering space, called “Community Gathering: Our History Told by Us.” From here, we held our watch party sessions, where employees were able to watch and learn from three documentaries to able to see history from a different perspective. However, this space also provided a space for employees to share insights, experiences, and recommendations for other resources (such as books and tv series) to further their colleagues’ knowledge about Black history. It was great to see everyone collaborating together and being so eager to learn!

Watch Party Sessions

We hosted Watch Party Sessions of educational documentaries that told our story and our history. These included films that educated and presented hard truths about the Black experience in America. Together, we watched:

  • High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America. This beautifully scripted documentary took us on a journey to Benin Africa and to the Gate of No Return. We learn how the rich tradition of the African cuisine was carried over to the new world.
  • 13th. Titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1865 to abolish slavery throughout the United States, this documentary provided data from an analysis of the U. S. prison system. This gathering allowed our community and allies to come together and learn the difficult reality of the criminalization of African Americans.
  • Descendant. This film tells the life story of the last enslaved Africans on the Clotilda, the last ship that carried enslaved Africans to the United States. It follows the descendants of the survivors as they reclaim their story.

These documentaries provided education and empathy. We celebrated our ability to overcome so many adversities and honor those who fought so that we can live free. We created a space for our employees to learn and feel safe to discuss their takeaways from each film.

Weekly Spotlights

We also celebrated Black History Month with a weekly spotlight on the African American women who changed history. We do not take lightly the phenomenal contribution African Americans have played in American History. We celebrated this rich history with our BeyondTrust family with pride and enthusiasm! Here are few women we highlighted this year:

  • Alice H. Parker – A Black inventor in the early 20th-century, Parker is best known for patenting a central heating system that uses natural gas. Her invention uniquely involved a multiple yet individually controlled burner system. Her system was an important precursor to the modern heating zone system and thermostats and played a key role in the development of the heating systems we have in our homes today.
  • Mary Kenner – A remarkable 20th-century inventor, Kenner received five patents that made everyday life easier, despite facing enduring racism her entire life. Her inventions include the sanitary belt (a predecessor to the maxi pad), a serving tray and pocket that connect to a walker, and a toilet paper holder that ensures the loose end of the paper is within reach.
  • Marian Croak – A prolific inventor in the voice and data communication fields, Croak currently has over 200 patents to her name. She is best known for developing Voice Over Internet Protocols (VoIP), technology that converts your voice into a digital signal, allowing you to make a call directly from a computer or other digital device. Croak currently works for Google as a Vice President in the engineering group. Her responsibilities include expanding Internet capabilities and increasing Internet access in the developing world.

How does BeyondTrust support U.S. Black History Month’s core initiatives beyond the month of February?

BeyondTrust offers professional development to our black employees through the McKinsey Black Leadership Academy. This program focuses on building the core management and leadership capabilities as well as the cross-functional knowledge needed to lead within our business. I was fortunate to complete this program in 2022! We also facilitate our conversation series, A Word in Black” each quarter. These conversations range from various topics that are major concerns and interest within the black community. We will be offering volunteer opportunities this year with organizations that support underrepresented urban communities alongside BeyondGiving.

Conclusion: a future of diversity and inclusion at BeyondTrust

Our culture is critical to our success as a company, as well as to creating an exceptional experience for our customers and partners. BeyondTrust is committed to creating a culture where all employees feel connected to the success of the company, have a sense of belonging at work, and are supported in their personal and professional goals.

You can learn about our other D&I initiatives here. Or, click here to learn more about the how BeyondTrust invests in building an exceptional employee experience, and why we feel that experience is critical to our success as a company.

Photograph of Kim Thomas

Kim Thomas, Sales Enablement Program Manager

Kim Thomas is a Sales Enablement Program Manager and has been with BeyondTrust for 2 ½ years. She has over a decade of leadership development, training, software, and cyber security experience in public and private sectors. She began her career with BeyondTrust as an Order Management Specialist supporting Sales Executives and Channel Managers in order guidelines, legal compliance, and revenue requirements. She transitioned to her current role in 2022 so she could provide high-quality, value-based enablement the Go To Market sales organization. She enjoys helping people develop into the best versions of themselves professionally and personally.

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