Per Scholas Celebrates Black History Month
During Black History Month, Per Scholas has been proud to engage in various internal and external activities to communicate the importance of Black individuals in the tech workplace. Keeping the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s (ASALH) theme of Black Health and Wellness in mind, we focused on wellness throughout our Black History Month celebrations and meetings and resurfaced some key conversations from our Diverse by Design podcast.
Throughout the month, we shared stories of some of our Black learners on our social media pages, highlighting their experience as Black individuals in an industry they’ve previously been underrepresented. Namely, we resurfaced the story of Per Scholas National Capital Region graduate Serge Mavuba. Serge, an AWS re/Start graduate, had some challenges throughout his training that he opened up about with us in a candid interview. He discussed how mental health is not typically discussed in his culture, especially as a Black man. Serge reflected, “mental health wasn’t discussed in my culture; it was taboo. I didn’t know what I needed, but with the Learner Support Team, I was able to recognize my triggers and implement ways to redirect my emotions to push through the day.” He was able to help himself by seeking help and sharing his thoughts with others, one of the ways to address mental health. By sharing his story, he gave Black individuals an opportunity to start the conversation on wellness in the Black community.
Internally, Per Scholas shared different experiences from our team and hosted a virtual lunch centered around mental health and wellness. Kiva Harper, LCSW-S joined us to discuss mental health, wellness tips, and how to be more compassionate towards others. Her insight helped open up the conversation for our team on wellness and mental health for Black individuals.
Lastly, we resurfaced some of our Diverse by Design Podcast episodes featuring Black leaders to showcase their stories and experiences. Franklin Reed, Chair of Diverse by Design’s National Advisory Board and Executive Director of Inclusion and Diversity at TEKsystems, walked through the mechanics of operationalizing diversity and inclusion within an organization in his featured podcast. Another podcast we shared again was that of Shawn Harris, Success Engineer at Cypress.io, where she reflected on her experience as a recent cancer survivor, Black woman, and proud member of the LGBTQ+ family. Listen as she thinks back on her experience with inclusion and belonging in tech.
We are honored that we were able to further explore and celebrate the stories and experiences of our learners, staff, and partners this Black History Month as we continue to highlight diversity in our organization.
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