The following letter was sent by Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA, chief equity, diversity, and inclusion officer and vice president, to the UMB community on Feb. 3:
February is Black History Month, a time when we highlight outstanding achievements and celebrate Black legacy and strength, and a time for us to remember impactful leaders and trailblazers, such as:
Dr. Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to travel into space; Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights activist who fought for voting rights for African Americans; Frederick Douglass, abolitionist leader and orator; Dr. Maya Angelou, civil rights activist and author; and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights activist and preacher.
Black History Month also is a wonderful time to reflect on the present and the future, and how these courageous and strong individuals shaped American life and legacy and how, as a people, we can do the same.
During Black History Month and every month, we are invited to learn more about and celebrate the fullness of Black experiences — our humanity, achievements, struggles, and triumphs. And we are reminded daily of the struggle we still face with racial injustice, violence, economic and social challenges, and structural oppression. We look through the pages of history, as it were, to remind us of the resilience, wisdom, and strength of many, and to fuel our hopes for our path ahead.
Marcus Garvey once said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Black History Month provides us once again with the opportunity to reflect and be reminded of Black history, American history, and to commit to a more just and anti-racist future. UMB celebrates Black History Month — and we invite you to join us at our virtual MLK and Black History Month Celebration on Feb. 8 as well as these events.