What Black history means to us now – Mental Health At Work


Time flies – but amazingly, we’re still in the middle of Black History Month! It was wonderful to see such a rich ancestral legacy being spoken about and the often neglected achievements of the Black and Brown community being highlighted and celebrated.

I have not one but three professionals to share their field experiences with you and highlight why the full importance of education, representation and investment is important to a historically downtrodden people who not only strive for better, but truly win.

So without further ado….

Keisha King

Keisha King is an elementary school teacher who helps inspire the next generation of youth to shine in their everyday lives.

What did you learn from teaching Black History Month at school? Did anything surprise you?

Teaching black history to 1st grade kids is difficult because sometimes they don’t understand the concept of time. You have to be very clear because to explain that black people were not allowed to mix with white people 50 years ago is a concept that the majority may not understand. Being visual, using examples to support the knowledge accumulated over the years to differentiate the present really made me aware of how we mindfully share history with these young minds.

They teach the next generation of engineers, programmers, artists and all the other wonderful professions in the open air! How important is it to instill morale and confidence in all of your students, most of whom are black and brown children?

Very important, and positive praise is a great way to do that. Some children don’t always find it easy, so their efforts need to be recognized and rewarded – it builds confidence and morale. Mental health needs to be recognized in schools as well because fear and worry are real emotions for children and this fear can prevent them from reaching their full potential and of course I want the very best for all my students.

Tendai Moyo

Tendai Moyo is an entrepreneur and founder of Ruka, a hair products/educational company that positively promotes what it means to wear your crown everywhere and with pride.

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Five-year-old Josiah Sharpe was banned from a school for having an underlying fade, hair that school officials deemed “extreme”.

In 2017, Destiny Tompkins, who worked for a reputable retail store, was told her braids looked “urban and scruffy.” She was told to take them out or risk less work.

Brittany Noble, 32, has been fired as a news anchor because her hair was deemed ‘unprofessional’ and the list goes on…

If your company could speak Ruka, how would it describe the discrimination over what acceptable hair can look like at school or in the workplace for some blacks and browns?

The definition of acceptance when it comes to blacks and browns has somehow become a way of wanting their hair and self-expression under the guise of people “fitting in”. For my part, I remember being told to have straight hair for a bank interview if I ever wanted to secure the job. And it’s often ridiculous when leadership in corporate environments tells you to “come into the work environment as you are,” when many of the “norms” in those environments mean significant accommodation for black people, who often feel the “cheater.” ‘Aggravated Syndrome’.

Why is it important for Ruka to celebrate and educate how we talk about black hair?

Celebration and education go hand in hand when it comes to black hair because so much of it has been taken from us. Slavery set back hair innovation for blacks for centuries, and being forced to hide our hair came with shame and distress. We change the narrative and celebrate our locks and curls in all their glory with Ruka! Just as skincare feels exploratory and exciting, we want to make sure black men and women feel the same way when it comes to products that serve and care for their own hair.

Dion Blackberry

Dion Bramble is a corporate finance specialist and co-founder of Project Aid Alliouagana, along with Doncia Athill, which helps the youth and underprivileged members of Montserrat – a Caribbean island devastated by devastating volcanic eruptions between 95-97.

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You were born on the island of Montserrat which is a British colony – I would like to know how black history was taught there compared to the states you live in now?

Growing up in Montserrat, as far as I can remember, there was no black history taught on the curriculum. Most of my teachings about black history during my childhood came from stories told by village elders and our folk traditions like masquerade or moko jumbie dancing. In the States, I was taught American history, which focused on traditional events and achievements of mostly white figures, with the exception of the life and death of notable Black American figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

You and your team have helped over 400 children with bags, books, school supplies and food. Well, it’s a silly question, but we can all benefit so much from the answer: Why is it so important that aid continues?

When a community plagued by such devastation and uncertainty about a better quality of life receives the help it needs, pretty much everything can change.

As we know, our children are the future. Our annual assistance ensures that every child in need is fully equipped with the necessary school supplies so that they can return to school each year with a bright smile, and feeling safe and secure that a lack of supplies will not prevent them from excelling. In addition, the funds saved by a parent can be used for other necessities of life and eventually help alleviate economic difficulties.

Thank you for joining Mind to share such meaningful stories, stories that can only help progress and positively represent black culture, black history and undoubtedly black life.


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