How 4 San Diego companies celebrated Black History Month

Feb 19, 2021 - San Diego: Life. Changing.

From honest dialogues to virtual educational events, San Diego companies are making strides every day toward building more diverse and inclusive workplaces. And while Black History Month is just one of many opportunities to celebrate and honor Black history and experiences, we’re especially proud to highlight the work regional companies and experts are doing during February.

Here’s how four San Diego companies educated, celebrated, and honored during Black History Month:

1. Lytx

At Lytx, in honor of Black History Month, the team included elements of celebration, education and support. Lytx hosted a fireside chat with Professor Alvin Bernard Tillerman, Ph.D., to discuss Black History Month’s significance. Together, they learned how to contribute through allyship to advance DE&I efforts at Lytx.

To further dialogue, employees were invited to watch “A Most Beautiful Thing,” a documentary chronicling the first Black high school rowing team in the U.S. Employees were able to join a virtual discussion with the film director and one of the protagonists.

The Lytx team supported local communities by encouraging patronization of Black-owned businesses. A list for each Lytx location site included crowd-sourced suggestions from employees. 

Throughout the month, Lytx continued education by sharing short bios of lesser-known Black inventors and civic leaders. Lastly, Lytx provided Zoom backgrounds for employees to use during their virtual meetings.

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2. Northrop Grumman Corporation

Northrop Grumman is committed to empowering all of its employees in advocating change and sharing knowledge within its workforce. Among its many employee resource groups at its San Diego location is the African-American Task Group (AATG).

This month, the AATG led special employee events to celebrate Black History Month. Events like “Many Shades of Black – A Discussion on Identity,” “Social Justice in San Diego with Genevieve Jones-Wright,” and a presentation on the Tuskegee Airmen were hosted by Northrop Grumman’s employee-led groups. Being in the engineering industry, the company was also proud to participate in National Engineers Week in the last week of February, and combine it with the celebration of Black History Month. Its AATG leaders hosted an event to educate local students on the many contributions and impacts made by Black scientists and engineers.

Finally, the company published an internal Unity and Social Justice Portal with resources to help employees engage with each other and create a starting point to have those tough conversations. The team has built upon these opportunities and created a 21-Day Challenge for its San Diego employees to encourage them to learn about their unconscious biases, the history of our nation and how it has shaped where we are today, and most importantly, to continue to learn from each other.

The Northrop Grumman team are strong advocates of diversity and inclusion and continue to find ways to learn from each other during this special month and throughout the rest of the year.

Northrop Grumman is hiring in San Diego! Find your next role:

3. NuVasive

Throughout February, medical device company NuVasive hosted four events to help its employees (dubbed “Shareowners”) engage in educational dialogue on the Black and African American experience to foster allyship and inclusivity.

NuVasive Shareowners joined a conversation with Marketing and Communications Strategist and Diversity and Inclusion Consultant Nicole Thomas to learn about effective communication in a diverse workplace. Shareowners will had the opportunity to join Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner Audra Bohannon and CEO Chris Barry for a discussion on the ways race, diversity, equity, and inclusion show up and how to start courageous conversations to move forward.

In addition, CEO Chris Barry, CHRO Lucas Vitale and Jason McGowan, M.D., neurosurgeon and NuVasive surgeon partner, filmed a discussion on race and healthcare amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The video covered dialogue around Dr. McGowan’s personal journey into his healthcare career, how NuVasive can become a more inclusive company, and the disparities that exist across race and ethnicity in healthcare.

Finally, Shareowners were invited to attend a virtual screening for Antonio Webb, M.D.’s new documentary, Overcoming The Odds, which chronicles his path to becoming an orthopedic surgeon. After the screening, Dr. Webb and Shareowners participated in a live Q&A.

NuVasive is hiring in San Diego! Find your next role:

4. Booz Allen Hamilton

The team at Booz Allen Hamilton looked forward to recognizing Black History Month through a number of shared articles and videos, coordinated philanthropic activities, and virtual events led by the company’s African American Networks (part of the employee Multicultural ‘Business Resource Groups‘). Booz Allen also celebrated BEYA Modern Day Technology winners in February.

The San Diego African American Network planned several special events, including a ‘Unity in Diversity Paint Night’ featuring the work of a Black artist. San Diego Booz Allen employees attended a virtual event featuring the game Skin Deep, intended to foster meaningful dialogue among colleagues with different backgrounds. The Network also joined the San Diego Women’s Business Resource Group to raise funds to purchase dinner from Streetcar, a local Black-owned restaurant, as well as to purchase hygiene and food pantry items for Rachel’s Night Shelter in downtown San Diego.

Booz Allen San Diego also hosted an informative and interactive event with the Smithsonian in honor of Black History Month. Guest speakers from the National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) and the Smithsonian Transcription Center shared stories from the museum and guided Booz Allen teams as they transcribed historical documents from the Freedmen’s Bureau records. The event kicked off a two week transcribe-a-thon volunteer effort where Booz Allen employees continued helping to make these important historical documents more accessible.

Several thought-provoking virtual discussions happened throughout the month for all Booz Allen employees, including a discussion on civic engagement, a panel discussion on the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” a candid conversation with trailblazers in STEM about the role of technology in social justice issues of today, and a panel discussion on the book “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The San Diego African American Network also joined the local Latin American Network to host a panel discussion on voices across the Black diaspora.

Finally, Booz Allen employees were invited to participate in a virtual cooking demonstration and discussion about the history and importance of food in the Black community. Plus, Booz Allen matched employee donations to The Innocence Project as a part of a virtual giving campaign throughout the month.

Booz Allen Hamilton is hiring in San Diego! Find your next role:

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