Celebrating Black History Month
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February Diversity Holidays
  • February 1-February 14 marks the Chinese New Year
  • February is Black History Month in the US and Canada

  • February 8 (also the 15th) is Nirvana Day, the commemoration of Buddha’s death

  • February 17 is President's Day

  • February 26 – March 1 are Intercalary Days for people of the Baha’i faith

  • February 27 is Mahashivratri, a Hindu holiday that honors Shiva, one of the Hindu deities

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February 2014

Hello Friends,

Last week we had the pleasure of having a conversation with Jennifer “Jae” Requiro, National Manager (Director) of Diversity & Inclusion at Toyota Financial Services (TFS), at our Inclusion Best Practices Series. Jae shared with us Toyota’s use of mentoring as a diversity and inclusion and elevation strategy. Jae discussed how TFS has developed a “mentoring culture” that is supported by and engages it associates, from senior executives to junior line workers.  She noted that the culture motivates employees to participate in formal or informal mentoring opportunities at all levels and with people of all backgrounds. Save the date for our next Inclusion Best Practices Series event on April 24th with Mary-Frances Winters, President of The Winters Group, Inc., which will feature an interactive workshop. More information is forthcoming.

This month we’ve been celebrating Black History. In this newsletter we talk about the history of Black History Month and why it is important to designate certain months to honor the history of various identity groups. We’ve included a Black History Month quiz for a little fun! Feel free to use it as an opportunity for discussion with your work teams or family. We hope you have been checking out some of the events happening around Pittsburgh and at your organization in celebration of Black History Month.

The Lunar New Year is traditionally celebrated between January and February of each year by a number of East and Central Asian countries and by groups with Asian cultural heritages.  The Chinese New Year started on January 31, and this is the Year of the Horse. Traditionally celebrations for the Chinese New Year run from the last day of the last month on the Chinese calendar to the 15th day of the first month of the new year. Pittsburgh is home to a growing Asian American community.  To find and connect with other Asian American community groups in the Pittsburgh region, visit our Affinity Groups Search feature on the Vibrant Pittsburgh website or contact our Welcome Center.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Be Vibrant,

MelanieHarrington 2
Melanie Harrington
President & CEO, Vibrant Pittsburgh

Celebrating Black History Month

February marks the 88th year that the United States has celebrated Black History. In 1926, Historian Carter G. Woodson proclaimed the second week in February as “Negro History Week.” In 1976, the federal government acknowledged the expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month. Woodson chose February because both Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, were born in February.

In addition to the US, both Canada and the United Kingdom also celebrate Black History Month; Canada in February and the UK in October.

Some ask, why do we need to celebrate African American history as separate from the overall history of our country?  We should not separate the history of African Americans from the overall history of the United States, including the history of the Pittsburgh region. These histories are and continue to be intertwined. But it is also true that African American history with its rich complexity is often not fully shared in text books and other annals of history. Black History Month gives us an opportunity to remember, celebrate and learn more about a people who have contributed so much to this nation.

We hope you have had an opportunity to participate in some of the Black History Month activities taking place in the Pittsburgh region.  For remaining and upcoming events see this partial list below.

  • Senator John Heinz History Center exhibition — From Slavery to Freedom: Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 1212 Smallman St., Strip District. Visit heinzhistorycenter.org for more information.

  • PNC will sponsor a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Town Hall meeting at the Fairmont Hotel from 8:30 a.m.-9 a.m., as well as the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Awards Banquet on February 20.

  • From Slavery to Freedom film series: “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow” at 5:30 p.m. on February 26, Homewood Library Auditorium, 7101 Hamilton Ave. Discussion following screening.

For more information and more events visit: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5554666-74/feb-history-black#ixzz2svnWXl3L


Now let’s have some fun! We invite you to test your knowledge of Black History.  Take the quiz below and feel free to use it as an opportunity for discussion with a work team or your family.

  1. He was a busboy and a poet and in his poem he is “the darker brother”. Who is he?

  2. Who is the famous African American playwright born in the Hill District of Pittsburgh?

  3. Black History Month originated in 1926 by Carter Godwin Woodson. February was picked in honor of Abraham Lincoln and this man, who was also born in February.

  4. When she died at age 92 on October 24, 2005 she received a final tribute, usually reserved for statesman and military leaders, when her body was brought to the rotunda of the US Capitol. She was the first woman to lie in state at the US Capitol.

  5. Who is the singer and band leader from the big band era from Pittsburgh?

  6. James Weldon Johnson wrote this song that was to become the Negro National Anthem for a presentation in celebration of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. What is the name of this song?

  7. In 1939 the Daughters of the American Revolution said there were no dates for this opera singer to perform at Constitution Hall. An uproar over this was led by Eleanor Roosevelt and she was subsequently invited to perform. Who is this African American singer?

  8. Stevland Hardaway Judkins began playing piano at the age of four and he was a wonder. He once recorded an instrumental jazz album under the name Eivets Rednow. Look closely at the name and you can figure out who it really is.

  9. Who is the third youngest coach in NFL history?

  10. Who was the first African American woman to lead a fortune 500 company?

Answers: 1. Langston Hughes, 2. August Wilson, 3. Frederick Douglass, 4. Rosa Parks, 5. Billy Eckstine, 6. Lift Every Voice and Sing, 7. Marian Anderson, 8. Stevie Wonder, 9. Mike Tomlin, 10. Ursula Burns

Diversity and Inclusion Headlines & Resources

Events Around The Region
(Vibrant Pittsburgh sponsored events are highlighted. For more events, visit our website or follow us on facebook)

  • On February 20th, 6-8pm, the National Association of Women MBAs (Pittsburgh Professional Chapter) and PNC Bank will welcome nationally-acclaimed speaker and generational humorist Meagan Johnson at One PNC Plaza during the event ZAP THE GAP: How to Work with Multiple Generations. Ro register, click here.

  • Volunteers of America Project for Freedom presents Focus on Abilities Educational Seminar on March 11th from 8:00am-11:30am. For more information call 412-246-4434 or email brubin@voapa.org. To register, click here. HRCI credits available.

  • The English Language Institute (ELI) at the University of Pittsburgh offers non-credit English as a second language community education courses for internationals in the Pittsburgh community and at the University of Pittsburgh. A variety of courses are available Summer, Fall and Spring. For more information, visit the website.
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