Meet BAND – a.k.a. Black at Nextdoor! This Black History Month, we turned to a few members of our Black employee resource group to hear what the month means to them – and why it matters for all neighbors. Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate stories of diversity and the fight for equality – not just this month, but all year round.
Tasha Graham, Nextdoor Global Payroll Manager
This month is a reminder for everyone to learn more about how Black people have helped to build and shape this country, as well as to show young people what they can achieve.
My hero is Dr. Justina Ford, the first Black female doctor in Denver, Colorado. Although she completed the required course of study and graduated from medical school in 1899, she was not allowed to practice in a hospital. Dr. Ford opened a medical practice in her own home in Denver and treated anyone who came to her for help; she delivered over 7,000 babies during the course of her career. Her home in Denver is now open to the public, housing the Black American West Museum. Learn more about Dr. Ford here.
Kwesi Sey, Nextdoor Finance & Strategy Analyst
Black History Month is a great way to learn more about and hopefully empathize with one of the most marginalized groups in the U.S. Growing up in Ghana without knowing much about Black History Month, I’m always pleasantly surprised by how much I learn about Black difference makers every year – both past and present.
My historical hero is Kwame Nkrumah, an organizer and revolutionary behind the Pan-Africanist movement. He led the Gold Coast to independence from Britain in 1957, becoming the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana. Learn more about Dr. Nkrumah here.
Gary Johnson, Nextdoor Software Engineer
Black History Month has become more important to me as I get older. I have the opportunity to learn with my kids, connect with other Black folks, and appreciate our strength, resilience, and beauty.
As a father to two young African-American athletes, I want my boys to look to figures that they can learn from and who inspire them to do good in the world. Jackie Robinson has been a figure that my sons and I look up to – not just for his skills and athleticism, but what he did for the future of baseball and the minds of Americans. He embodied hard work, passion for what you do, and resilience both on and off the field. Learn more about Mr. Robinson here.
Chinongwa Themba Chasakara, Nextdoor Recruiting Coordinator
Being Black in South Africa (which is where I’m from), is definitely different from being Black in America in that there are a lot less of us around! But no matter where you’re from, it’s important to love what makes us unique and inspire pride in our communities.
This month, I highly encourage everyone to read Long Walk to Freedom, an autobiography by Nelson Mandela. You might know the name, but not everyone knows his full story or that of South Africa, which was ruled under segregation and institutionalized racism until the 1990s. Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his activism, but was ultimately elected President of South Africa after his release, becoming the country’s first Black head of state and the first elected official in a fully representative democratic election. Learn more about Dr. Mandela here.
Yannick “Neek” Zanfack, Nextdoor Product Designer
Black History Month is a reminder to celebrate our culture by honoring those who have come before us and contributed to the advancement of Black folks. This month is a great opportunity to learn more about Black culture and hopefully build empathy for one another as our society becomes an increasingly multicultural one.
My hero is Thomas Sankara, a Pan-Africanist icon and the former President of the Republic of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. He renamed the country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso (Land of Incorruptible People), and its people were called Burkinabe (The Upright People). Sankara instilled a strong sense of dignity and pride among his people. He was a champion for equal rights between men and women. Learn more about Mr. Sankara here.
Fuad Mohamoud, Nextdoor Software Engineer
To me, Black History Month is a reminder of all the civil rights issues our predecessors have overcome and the strength it took from some of history’s strongest leaders to get to where we are today. It also serves as a great reminder for me on how privileged I am to be alive in this day and age. But we still have a long way to go. “The struggles of the past teach us all about the present.”
My favorite historical figure is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His “I Have a Dream Speech” is one of the most iconic speech’s in history, but did you know that a lot of his speech was improvised? Including his famous line, “I Have a Dream!” Learn more about Dr. King here.
At Nextdoor, we believe that cultivating a diverse workforce is critical to building products and experiences that result in stronger, more connected neighborhoods for everyone. A huge thanks to #TeamNextdoor members from BAND for sharing their historical heroes and thoughts on Black History Month!
Interested in learning more and joining #TeamNextdoor? See all of our open positions right here.