An essay from ELC’s Network of Black Leaders and Executives (NOBLE) Employee Resource Group
Each of our journeys is different. But when we take a moment to pause and connect, we come together through the stories, experiences, and memories we share.
For most of us, the last two years brought forth unspeakable chaos and uncertainty, but they also ushered in a new age of hope and community. We’ve seen families and friends being able to safely connect and gather together again, community members engaging in acts of service and showcasing compassion for one another, and our company implementing commitments to act on racial equity, further promoting a culture of inclusion and belonging.
The Journey to Freedom: Stories of Courage, Culture, and Impact
The fight for equality has shaped the American story since its start. As activism grew in the mid-1950’s, social justice and civil rights groups spurred a national movement of resistance against segregation.
The African American civil rights movement marks the earliest of the 20th century battles for justice and equality in the United States-setting the stage for women’s rights, LGBT rights, and more.
During this event, we will celebrate the pioneers who continue to demand freedom and opportunity for all Americans. We wouldn’t be here today without them.
The Journey Through Culture: The Evolution of Black Music and Media
Remember feel-good African American television? From “The Jeffersons” to “Family Matters,” the struggles and triumphs of Black Americans have shaped America’s entertainment, fashion, art, and music-and even the world’s. And while the world claims bits and pieces of African American heritage as its own, ELC acknowledges the myriad ways Black art has driven and inspired culture in America and across the globe.
The Journey Through Beauty: Focus on Black Hair
Throughout the U.S. and wider African diaspora, Black hair has served as a canvas for art and self-expression. In all its forms-natural, relaxed, braided, beaded, cut, colored, or wrapped in vibrantly patterned head wraps-Black hair has long defined our individual and cultural identity.
NOBLE will travel through time and explore Black hair as a sublime sculptural form and symbol of resistance-one that continues to challenge Eurocentric standards of femininity.
The Journey Home: Africa and the Black Diaspora
Through this event, we will honor people of color across the diaspora: African Americans, Africans, Afro Caribbeans, and Afro Latinas. Our celebration captures the spirit of modern Black movements around the world, such as the Year of the Return. Introduced by the government of Ghana as a spiritual birthright journey, the Year of the Return is now an annual celebration that marks 400+ years of African resilience.
Our hope is that this year’s Black History Month programming inspires people of all backgrounds to explore their similarities and differences. As we pave the path for a better year, let’s ask ourselves: What motivated our journeys up to this point? What experiences have shaped our core values, beliefs, and fears? How do they drive our interactions? And if our journeys have been painful, how can we reframe them into positive experiences that usher us forward?
Let’s remember that the “pause” is just as important as the movement. And let’s take time-now and always-to celebrate our accomplishments, recharge, and come together in our journeys.
ELC’s Network of Black Leaders and Executives (NOBLE) Employee Resource Group
A special thanks to Camille Stanley, Editorial Director, NOBLE (Network of Black Leaders and Executives), Senior Content Manager, Estée Lauder, Creative, North America
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