So much is happening in the news lately.
Some things are good, some not so good. Some are downright awful.
People across the country have called policing methods into question. Calls for parity in education, criminal justice and economic opportunity are as loud as ever. Shifting demographics are changing the face of America. On top of it all, it is quite a unique election year.
It might make sense for companies to rest on the sidelines in such an emotionally charged climate.
But when the opportunity came for AT&T to contribute $1 million to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C., my company jumped at the chance.
As a young African American employee of the organization, I couldn’t be more proud.
Why is the museum and the AT&T contribution to it so important? It’s because so many black families don’t know their own histories, much less that of the broader community.
I can’t easily trace my roots to a country of origin. Centuries of my family history are either lost to time or hidden away. I stand on the shoulders of giants relegated to the footnotes of history, but I don’t know their individual stories. Their grit in the face of smothering oppression is why I’m a successful, college-educated black woman today.
But for all my ancestors have given me, I can’t even name where they came from or celebrate their achievements.
Our school systems try to fill in some of these gaps but often fall short. The Civil Rights movement was so much more than Martin and Malcolm. Theirs are the only names students learn about in some schools during the same 28 days each year. The internet makes it much easier to discover all kinds of information, including black history. But no search engine can give you the answers you need if you don’t even know what to look for.
The museum changes that for so many.
People fortunate enough to visit the museum can gain a deeper understanding of the black experience. The history behind the decimation of Black Wall Street underscores the importance of black-owned businesses today. Understanding the civil rights protests of yesteryear provides context on the movements sweeping the nation today. Discovering how 3 black women helped put a man on the moon proves that STEM careers aren’t just a single race or gender. The NMAAHC brings so much of our history in one place and takes visitors on an American journey unlike any other.
That is why the NMAAHC is important. That is why it matters. And that is why I am proud to work for a company willing to make such a substantial gift for the museum’s success.
At AT&T we say that “Every Voice Matters.” Our contribution to the National Museum of African American History and Culture is yet another manifestation of that important slogan.
This is the view point of one employee from the Millennial generation. You can also read what an employee who lived through the Civil Rights era has to say about the AT&T contribution here.