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What Black History Month means to me

February is Black History Month, and this year’s theme is ‘Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity’. To learn more about this important issue, we asked members of Paysafe’s Black community network what the theme means to them, and why it is an important topic to talk about now.

Jeremy Eackles, Relationship Manager VIP Clients – Houston

Black History Month and this year’s theme: Being a Black man during this time has taught me that it is incumbent that I continue to learn about who I am. Within my identity is my family and their history. During this turbulent season of being in quarantine, I have used my extra time to make an intentional effort to learn more about the history of my ancestors. The more I learn about their history, the more I come to realize how essential the role the family has played in our overall success as a race.

“Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” is a great theme for Black History Month. Despite the oppression Black people and their families have had to face, we have been a people that have consistently overcome and risen to greater depths. This is a year where we can reflect upon the achievements we have made throughout history, while simultaneously hope for more change.

Why it is important to talk about it now: With this year’s theme being “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” we must continue to talk about this topic because it will impress upon all people how important the role of the family plays in cultivating strong community. Honest conversations will alleviate many stereotypes and bring forth clarity. Where there are successful families, there will be successful community.

Omoniyi Fabarebo, Infosec Risk and Compliance Manager – Montreal

Black History Month and this year’s theme: To me, representation means having a seat at the table, and equality of opportunities.  

Identity speaks to having a reference point, a true north and a clear culture that defines who you are as a person and a people.

I think of diversity in all its facets but especially diversity of thought.

Why it is important to talk about it now: It is an established fact in psychology that people think better and more clearly when they speak out loud, or have conversation about something. Black relations and culture in North America have come a long way since the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s, but there is still a long way to go. Talking about issues relating to representation, identity and diversity that impact the black community will help us find more creative ways to solve pertinent matters such as crime and police brutality, breakdown of the family, education, and broader community development.

Christine Fullerton, Controller, EU Acquiring – London

Black History Month and this year’s theme: The theme for me seeks to highlight the many different and varied aspects in play for a Black family. African Americans, Black people, Brown people, mixed race (mulatto) – there are so many different elements to the family; yet we are all viewed to be the same. This is a fallacy which needs to be acknowledged and addressed. We are all from different backgrounds and origins, which is evident when we fail to come together and have one common goal and purpose. The very thing that binds us, breaks us apart.

Why it is important to talk about it now: I hope and trust that exploring the wonderful and varied aspects that make up the Black family will help to break down barriers within the Black community and help our allies to understand and appreciate the need to work together for a brighter future, through greater recognition, equality, and purpose.

Davi Chikasha-Auld, Group Technology Finance Business Partner – London

Black History Month and this year’s theme: This year's theme speaks volumes to me about how important it is for us to learn from, and understand, the complexity and richness of our history.

Representation is the need for positive role models, and a seat at the table to effect permanent and continuous change. To me representation means having a voice, because your opinion, world view, and contributions matter.

Identity shines a light on what it is that makes us who we are. We are all an amalgamation of different experiences and perspectives. We are unique and valid within and outside our racial identity. We are one.

Diversity shines a light on how there are a lot of spectrums and vantage points within our identity. Diversity of thought, diversity of world view, all of which is beautiful and needs to be celebrated in all its splendor.

Why it is important to talk about it now: It has never been more important to stop, reflect, and move forward as humans. A lot has happened recently that serves to make us forget the progress we have made over time. However this theme, and Black History month in general, reminds us and our allies that, although we have further to go, we have started our journey.