#TeamNextdoor

Why Black History Month Is Important to #TeamNextdoor

Written by Helen Lee

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
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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.

"Folks make an appointment and whatever color they turn up, that's the color I take them." - Justina Ford, Physician
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Kwesi Sey, Nextdoor Finance & Strategy Analyst

Kwesi Sey, Nextdoor Finance & Strategy Analyst
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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.

"The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influences that keep us apart." - Kwame Nkrumah, President of Ghana
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Gary Johnson, Nextdoor Software Engineer

Gary Johnson, Nextdoor Software Engineer
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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.

"There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free." - Jackie Robinson, American Baseball Player
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Chinongwa Themba Chasakara, Nextdoor Recruiting Coordinator

Chinongwa Themba Chasakara, Nextdoor Recruiting Coordinator
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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.

"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa
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Yannick “Neek” Zanfack, Nextdoor Product Designer

Yannick “Neek” Zanfack, Nextdoor Product Designer
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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.

"Inequality can be done away with only by establishing a new society, where men and women will enjoy equal rights." - Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso
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Fuad Mohamoud, Nextdoor Software Engineer

Fuad Mohamoud, Nextdoor Software Engineer
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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.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Activist
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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.

💚 Follow @Nextdoor on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – and subscribe to the Nextdoor blog for company news, pro tips, and inspiring stories from neighbors around the world! 💚

10 Comments

  • Thank you for remembering Black History Month & reminding readers of the values to all societies & other cultures of the great contributions people of color have made & continue to make to everyone!… in thoughts, art, sciences, culture, & faith! I’ve been so stunned & disappointed to see the resurgence of mean & unfair prejudice toward all people of color in this country…believing that my generation who was graced by the brilliance & passion of Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela & others to teach us that brilliance comes in all colors… I had thought we opened everyone’s eyes & hearts to appreciate our differences…after-all, as a nurse I learned when any of us cut beneath our skin we all bleed red blood…our only difference is our skin color. Thank you, again for remembering black history month!

  • what a wonderful article. A big thank you for reminding us that WE are all ONE! Love, dignity and respect for all of my neighbors! God Bless us all <3

  • God Bless each of you.
    We are all his children no matter the color or religion. This world (our country) could be a utopia if our hearts were opened.

  • I really enjoyed that moment in Black History. It will make more people aware of our contributions here in America and in Africa. And on a side note why not include other immigrants contributions thru out the year.

  • Lots of wonderful, talented people on this list. They certainly have made a great impact on all of us, especially Nelson Mandela, Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks. By the way, when is White History Month. I can never seem to hear about it.Does anyone know?

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