February is Black History Month, and our Black Elasticians (or Blasticians, as they call themselves) have spent a lot of energy to make this year special. We’ve curated a month-long celebration filled with stories and events that highlight the contributions of Black Americans to our collective history and culture.
At the end of the month, we want to take a look back at some of these initiatives and share them with the public. Why? To celebrate the hard work of our team, and to inspire others to make Black History Month more than a casual observance.
Kicking off Black History Month
If you missed it, we kicked February off with our annual Black History Month blog post. This tradition started in 2019 and expanded last year to also include the Black History Month celebration in the UK. This year, we highlighted the experience of three of our Elasticians — Jay Miller, Courtney Wilburn, and Evan Benson — to learn what Black representation and leadership means to them.
Elastic Cares sessions
A blog post each year isn’t enough — there’s more work to be done. So to encourage further conversation around Black History Month we held two in-house round table sessions, one with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the other with Berea College.
The NAACP has been a champion of Black American rights and education since its founding in 1909. They’ve worked extensively in federal advocacy, education, health, environmental and criminal justice, economic opportunity, and media diversity. During their session at Elastic, the NAACP shared some of their greatest achievements from over 100 years of activism, their current projects, and the various ways that Elasticians can support their work and stand up for equality.
Berea College is a liberal arts institution located in Berea, Kentucky. They were the first post-secondary college in the southern United States to be coeducational and racially integrated. Today they provide tuition-free education to each and every student admitted, and work extensively to promote better understanding and equality among Black and White students. During the session, representatives from Berea College talked about the institution's rich history, shared highlights of their current initiatives and those of the past, and discussed volunteering opportunities and other ways Elasticians can support Berea College as they continue their important work.
Sharing is important. That’s why throughout the month we also posted our Blasticians' stories on our Instagram feed. We hope that by spreading these stories we help increase visibility and create and maintain a record of their contributions in the spirit of the work that Carter G. Woodson started 95 years ago when he established Negro History Week, a precursor to Black History Month. As Woodson so aptly put, “Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”
We also caught up with several Blasticians to ask them what Black culture means to them. As a bonus, we caught it all on video. Check out the compilation below to hear some of their thoughts.
Lastly, our Blasticians also curated a Spotify playlist with some of the songs by Black musicians that inspire them. The playlist was updated throughout the month and includes gems from Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Anderson .Paak, and more.
There’s so much work to do, which is why we will continue to promote our Black voices throughout the year. Next Black History Month we plan to expand our in-house sessions and other initiatives to make Elastic more equitable and the contributions of our Blasticians more visible across the business.