A recent book donation initiative run by Ceridian’s Black Employee Network to support an underserved community is the latest illustration of how we put diversity, equity, and inclusion into action. Learn why this act of community giving is especially relevant today.
Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Do you know the name Carter G. Woodson? He may not be as recognisable as other notable Black history figures like Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or Rosa Parks. But his achievements are just as important – because without them, the stories of other Black trailblazers would not be as well known.
A historian and author, Woodson was essential to developing the practice of teaching Black history in America and he is credited as being the father of Black History Month. And it is his legacy and commitment to telling overlooked and silenced stories that inspired Ceridian’s Black Employee Network, one of our nine employee resource groups (ERGs), in their latest effort to serve the underserved and put diversity, equity, and inclusion into action.
Supporting cultural representation
Named after Carter G. Woodson, the Woodson African American Museum of Florida has been a staple in the St. Petersburg community since 2006. The museum and library are a haven filled with educational resources for people to learn about the significant contributions of African Americans. Its children’s library provides a variety of culturally and historically relevant material desperately needed in the underserved community where the library is located.
To support the Woodson Museum’s mission for this library, Ceridian’s Black Employee Network kicked off a book drive in February in honor of Black History Month. Our goal was to provide culturally relevant books for underrepresented minority families. Wrapping up this initiative recently, we collected more than 200 children’s books to donate to the museum.
As Co-Chair of the Black Employee Network, I had the honor of presenting these books to the Woodson Museum alongside other members of the ERG and a group of students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that we mentor.
Our donated books primarily focused on pre-kindergarten through middle school grades because early readers often develop better literacy skills when they can envision themselves within the stories. We selected a wide range of genres including fiction, biographies, and fantasy to ensure we could appeal to every reader.
Readers become leaders
There is no bad time to empower the next generation with the gift of cultural representation. But our Black Employee Network felt this initiative was especially meaningful at this time and place given the recent legislation limiting access to books in Florida public schools, as well as controversies surrounding how Black history is taught in the state and elsewhere.
Equity is a core Ceridian value. This means, among many other things, that we have an unwavering commitment to ensuring that underrepresented communities have access to literature that reflects their stories. We recognise that there is no greater freedom than the freedom to learn. And we know today’s readers become tomorrow’s leaders.