Regence hears from employees on the importance of celebrating Black History Month and diversity in 2021, virtually or otherwise

By Regence
February 17, 2021

Regence employees traditionally gather throughout the year to celebrate the diversity of both our company and the communities we serve. Much of this work is driven by those who volunteer through our employee resource groups (ERGs)—helping cultivate an inclusive workplace and create community for our Black, Latinx, veteran, caregiving, LGBTQIA+ employees and allies.

Similar to most of 2020, we continue to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 as vaccines become more available. While in-person events and activities remain on hold, our ERGs have worked tirelessly to ensure we continue to virtually acknowledge important observances and raise awareness. This includes members of the BOLD ERG, our company’s Black Organization of Leadership and Development employee resource group, celebrating Black History Month in 2021.

Kilaa Slaughter Scott, chair of the BOLD ERG, recently shared her perspective about why it’s important that we recognize Black History Month every year:

“Black history is American history,” she said. “It is part of the roots that nourish us and help us grow united. Black History Month is a time to reflect and celebrate the contributions and achievements of African Americans and their significant role in U.S. history. Recognizing the past and present opens doors to a better future for all.”

Below are perspectives from other BOLD ERG members, as well resource recommendations from employee volunteers to honor and celebrate Black History Month.

Antoinette Awuakye (Benefit Contracts and Compliance/Legal)

I have been inspired to help others by those that have helped me in the past and because I see the need to support people in their development, especially those that are at a disadvantage. Having immigrated to the U.S from Ghana, West Africa, with my parents and two sisters at an early age, my family had to start all over. We faced many obstacles but those are the memories that keeps me grounded and remind me to never forget where I came from, appreciate what I have, what I’ve accomplished, and to give back to others. 

Derick Mitchell (Human Resources)

If I had to choose one figure in Black history who inspires me, it would be Martin Luther King Jr. When you look back in history, the same issues he fought for are the same ones we are fighting today. I’d ask: How can we get through this? How can we inspire our advocates to better understand our cause? How can we lead people to see that equality for all creates a better world for all of us?   

Matty Hackl (Sales)

The BOLD ERG has been a great space to connect with other employees of color and our allies. During the pandemic, we’ve had an ongoing virtual picnic every other Friday at lunch. It is a safe and casual space for us to meet and bring our authentic selves to build and support community. The high-profile deaths experienced in the Black community during 2020 and the resulting public reactions compounded the need for this space. These picnics provide me the forum to listen to others and to express my feelings as well as receive the support and community I needed and wasn’t finding elsewhere.

BOLD ERG resource recommendations

And Still I Rise  
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents  
How To Be Antiracist  
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings  
My Soul is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered 
Our Time Is Now  
The Mamba Mentality: How I Play  
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down  
Well-Read Black Girl  

I Can’t Breathe  
I Smile  
Still I Rise  

Black Panther 
I Am Not Your Negro 
James Baldwin Debate w/ William F. Buckley in 1965 
Roots – TV Show 
Strong Island 
Underground – TV Show 
12 Years A Slave 

Support (community groups and nonprofits) 
Albertina Kerr
Greater Than 
Mary’s Place 
National Charity League (NCL) 
North by Northeast 
Partners in Diversity 
Pongo Fund
Region 10 PTA 
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 
University of Washington Autism Center