For Black history month, we posed a question to the healthcare public relations and marketing experts on our staff: “Tell us about someone from Black history who has impacted your life.” The responses we got were too good not to share! Here is what they had to say:
Issa Rae is a huge inspiration to me! I absolutely love her show which she created and acted in, Insecure. It recently just ended its fifth and final season. Issa made it a point to put Black culture at the forefront of the show by showing black tradition through the food, scenery, the personas of the actors, fashion, and more. It was so relatable to real life and expressed current issues African Americans deal with on a daily basis.
Amy Roberts, VP of Communications + Client Services
A few years ago, I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and often wonder if any single human has ever contributed more to advancing science, engineering, and medicine. It’s a painful yet important reminder of how the institutions we rely on are inherently and systemically bias and how often white people have benefitted from racial inequities in healthcare. Racism is [still] a public health crisis.
Gaby Hermes, Executive Assistant, KNB Communications
I’m a tech nerd and love using every modern gadget within my reach, especially those that help me find stuff, like my keys or my husband. That is why I am in awe of the brilliant mathematician, Dr. Gladys West. In the 50’s, she was admired for her ability to solve complex mathematical equations by hand. Later on, she programmed computers to make those calculations for her. Gladys West broke the farming mold that young black women in rural Virginia were expected to fit. She persevered through racial inequality AND gender bias to make impactful technological advances. Thanks to Gladys’ vital contributions to GPS technology, we can get driving directions, tag locations on social media, and locate friends and lost pets. Dr. West was inducted into the US Air Force Hall of Fame in 2018.
Emily Boland, Account Executive, KNB Communications
Bayard Rustin was a lesser-known advisor to Martin Luther King Jr, who is said to have inspired King's nonviolent approach to protesting and as a way of life. Rustin is credited with organizing the 1963 March on Washington, an immense logistical feat bringing together over 200,000 peaceful protesters in under two months. This success in the face of adversity was only heightened as Rustin was an openly gay black man. As a lover of complexity and advocate for making the impossible possible, I have a deep admiration for the man behind the scenes!
Beth Cooper, VP of Marketing + Sales
There are so many options to choose from, but someone who has an impact on my life is Misty Copeland, the first Black prima ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre. My stepdaughter loves ballet, and she was inspired to see someone who looks like her in such a prominent position. We’ve read Copeland’s biography and follow her on Instagram. She seems very aware of the power she holds as a role model for young Black women, and I applaud her not only for her impressive achievements in her field but also for her conscious efforts in paving the way for more representation in an elite art form woefully bereft of it.
Joy Abbasi, Media Relations
Kamala Harris is both inspired and inspiring as the first female Vice President. Her achievements show women and girls they can achieve anything. I think for women sometimes there is a lack of validation and hope when trying to “shatter the glass ceiling.” Vice President Harris has provided a blueprint for all that women can achieve politically and in life. I have a deep admiration for all she has accomplished and the adversity she has overcome to rise to the highest office in the United States.
Sandy Gutierrez-Ebers, Marketing stuff
A modern-day, revolutionary woman who has advocated for important causes throughout her life, former First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a lawyer, writer, and the wife of the 44th President, Barack Obama. She is an inspiration to our nation. She has encouraged better education, social change, healthy living, and empowering women for equal rights. She has become a role model for so many people and has inspired the next generation of children to succeed.
Chintan Shah, President
I was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI and as a kid it was impossible to grow up without knowing the name, the history and the legacy of Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron. He was truly a larger than life hero as a baseball player, activist, businessman and humanitarian. Throughout his career, as he rose to fame, he faced countless threats and incidents of racial prejudice. Even as a star player, he often had to stay in different hotels and eat at separate restaurants than his teammates due to Jim Crow laws in the southern US. Hank Aaron played most of his career in Milwaukee, a city that welcomed him and embraced him as one of its own. Even after the Braves left Milwaukee for Atlanta, Aaron returned to Milwaukee to play for the Brewers because of his love for the city. He broke barriers and exuded a class and demeanor that never showed the fear and anxiety he faced throughout his travels and as he broke the home run record. Following his playing career, he became a well known businessman, often making appearances throughout his adopted city of Milwaukee. I will always remember seeing his statue at the stadium and learning the story that described his successes on and off the field in the face of incredible difficulty.
Olivia Caron, Marketing + Communications Intern
We are all capable of doing incredible things, and it is inspiring to see all that people can accomplish, regardless of age. As a student with big dreams myself, I am greatly impacted by other young individuals who were able to accomplish their own amazing dreams. Iddris Sadhu, now 24 years old, is recognized for being a tech genius. He is responsible for creating the algorithms used on apps such as Uber, Snapchat, and Instagram. He was born in Ghana, came to the United States with his parents when he was just 3 years old, and learned to code at age 13 during a work experience at Google. Iddris Sadhu is an inspiration to all young people, especially in his desire to go to Africa to teach kids how to code and build platforms of their own. It is one thing to be a talented individual, but it is another to want to share your talents and passions with those who wouldn’t get the opportunity otherwise.